Australian opening batsman Aaron Finch played an unforgettable innings to put England to the sword in the first Twenty20 match between the two sides in Southampton.
He began by hooking a six away into the leg side to his first ball—by the time he departed the scene, he had scored 156 from just 63 balls.
It was the highest score by any batsman in T20 internationals and featured the most sixes (14), along with 11 more boundaries.
What impressed most was Finch's clean-hitting. The pitch at the Ageas Bowl was not the most challenging, with the bounce even and true, but only a couple of his strokes were anywhere near the outside edge. Even they raced away for fours.
Aaron Finch hits 14* sixes, a new record in T20I cricket by any player in a match, he beats RLevi's 13 sixes v NZ at Hamilton (19 Feb 2012)— Cricket Record (@cricinfo_record) August 29, 2013
Hats off to @AaronFinch5 ... Best hitting I have seen live! I think your spot in the side is safe now my boy! Well played!— Dirk Nannes (@dirk_nannes) August 29, 2013
There was only one notable batting record that he missed out on—that of the quickest century in T20Is. At 92 from 34 balls, he appeared to have Richard Levi's mark of 45 balls at his mercy, but in the one quiet part of his innings, the landmark slipped by.
Coincidentally, Finch was on the field when another T20 landmark was set earlier this year: Chris Gayle setting an IPL record of 175 (and he reached his century in 30 balls). Finch may be able to have some sympathy for England captain Stuart Broad, because on that day he was the captain for Pune Warriors.
Century off 47 balls for Aaron Finch. He captained Pune Warriors when they conceded Chris Gayle's world record 175 this year!— Alternative Cricket (@AltCricket) August 29, 2013
Finch’s knock propelled Australia to an imposing 248 for 6 from their 20 overs and despite a fine, unbeaten 90 from Test opener Joe Root, England fell well short as the tourists claimed a 39-run victory.
The second T20 between the two sides takes place in Durham on Saturday.