Explosive batting: Finch produced fireworks both on and off the pitch in the first T20 at the Rose Bowl.
What: England versus Australia, second T20
Where: Chester-le-Street, Durham
When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2:30 BST
Live Stream: Sky Sports 2
TV info: Sky Sports 2, 2 p.m.–6 p.m. BST, highlights Channel 5, 7 p.m.–8 p.m. BST
England and Australia do it all over again in the second T20 international in Durham on Saturday afternoon, as the home side look for the win that will earn them a share of this two-match series following the tourists’ victory in the opening contest on Thursday.
George Bailey’s men enjoyed a comfortable 39-run victory at the Rose Bowl thanks in no small part to absolutely astonishing innings from big-hitting opening batsman Aaron Finch, with the burly left-hander clubbing his way to 156 from just 63 balls, the highest international T20 score ever recorded.
The 26-year-old came into this series with a fearsome reputation for hitting a long ball, and that was further enhanced in Hampshire on the back of striking a quite unbelievable 11 fours and 14 sixes—the latter yet another record to go Finch’s way.
Wow 460 runs on 40 overs! Hard to say this as a bowler but that's what T20 is about! Hate losing but well played Finch. Special knock— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) August 29, 2013
And the England think tank of limited-overs supremo Ashley Giles, bowling coach David Saker and captain Stuart Broad will need to come up with some new plans for the Victorian when the two sides meet again on Saturday in the north east, as clearly nothing they tried down south on Thursday night came off.
One thing the England pacemen could try when they get their chance to bowl at Finch again at Chester-le-Street is to concentrate predominantly on the off, rather than the on, side to the opener, who hit all but one of his maximums over the leg-side boundary.
However, with only a win now capable of drawing this miniseries, expect some changes to team personnel by the hosts—especially in the bowling department—after Australia racked up the highest-ever international T20 score between two Test-playing nations in the history of the game at the Rose Bowl.
Many experts and pundits alike were surprised not to see Kent off-spinner James Tredwell’s name in England’s starting XI on Thursday, with Hampshire slow left-armer Danny Briggs chosen in the more experienced tweaker’s place on what was the latter’s home ground.
But after leaking 51 runs from his four-over spell, despite capturing the wicket of Shaun Marsh, the 22-year-old was England’s most expensive bowler of those who sent down more than one over in the Australia innings, going at an eye-watering rate of 12.75 runs per over.
Other than that one possible change, Giles and batting coach Graham Thorpe will be keen to get a look at in-form Hampshire opener Michael Carberry in Durham, although with the batting lineup pretty settled and one of the few parts of England’s game to have actually functioned fairly well on Thursday, that could be tricky to achieve.
Going into the first T20, it was a toss-up between Carberry and Joe Root as for the final batting spot, with the young Yorkshire tyro’s all-round abilities with both bat and ball seemingly getting him the nod.
However, despite getting smashed all round the ground by Finch for 27 runs from his one and only over at the Rose Bowl, Root did make up for that disappointment by then going on to top score with a stylish and well-paced innings of 90 not out from only 49 deliveries in what was the 22-year-old’s first-ever T20 knock for his country, despite Thursday actually being his third international for England.
And with the home team also managing to register their highest-ever T20 score in England, it would be a surprise if there were too many alterations for the second contest, while Australia are almost certain to stick with the same XI that recorded their maiden T20 victory in the U.K. at the seventh time of asking.
186-2 and five overs left! Finch has the highest ever score in T20 internationals and Eng have no answer— Dean Wilson (@CricketMirror) August 29, 2013
One difference at Chester-le-Street, however, compared to the Rose Bowl, will be the playing surface, with both sides commenting on just what a good pitch it was to bat on in Hampshire, with the ball coming on nicely throughout the course of each team's innings.
At Durham, though, while not only being an all-day affair this time without the use of lights, it is also unlikely to offer such a true surface on which to bat on, as seen in the recent Test match played there between these two sides. The ball is certain to stick in the pitch more, making both clean striking and six hitting harder to achieve.
All of which may very well just suit the makeup of England’s XI slightly better than Australia’s, as Broad and Co. go in search of a series-levelling win.
England Squad Stuart Broad (capt), Ravi Bopara, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Michael Carberry, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, James Tredwell, Luke Wright