Aug 30 2013
Captain Stuart Broad admitted England were beaten by a "very special" Aaron Finch innings in the first NatWest Twenty20 international against Australia at the Ageas Bowl.
Finch hit a world-record Twenty20 international 156, from 63 balls, as Australia secured their first win over England this summer by 39 runs.
Records tumbled as Finch hit a record 14 sixes, became Australia's first Twenty20 centurion and second-quickest in the world to three figures.
The punishment dished out in his one-man show served to overshadow Australia's 248 for six - the second-highest international score.
"It was special striking from Finch, to hit 14 sixes in an innings," Broad said.
"I think we can say we tried everything at him as well he just played everything fantastically well.
"In Twenty20 cricket that can happen. He made it his day in quite spectacular fashion.
"Sometimes you just have to say that was a very special innings."
England responded with their second-best Twenty20 score, 209 for six, but it was indicative of Finch's heavy hitting that they never looked likely to run down the total.
Early wickets put paid to any lingering hope, on a pitch tailor-made to stroke-making, as the hosts fell to 42 for four.
But Joe Root reminded of his growing status with an unbeaten 90 - in his first Twenty20 innings - after he had been left bloodied after an awkward Josh Hazlewood delivery that hit him in the mouth.
"It makes his knock even better," Broad said.
"He's got over an inch laceration inside his mouth which is quite a nasty one. He's being treated now.
"I don't know the treatment he'll need but he was spitting out quite a bit of blood.
"It's not the first blow he's had to his face, I'm sure he'll get over it."
Root's innings made certain England would take encouragement into the series finale at Chester-le-Street on Saturday, where conditions are certain to be more difficult for the batsmen.
"I think here the batsmen want to pitch a tent up and the bowlers have their passport in their pocket ready for Durham," Broad said.
"I'm very proud of the guys who showed up in our side and fell just short of our highest international score.
"It would have been very easy to be 100 all out there and fallen down. The crowd would have gone unhappy.
"There's certainly 11 disappointed English guys but the crowd have had a fantastic day with 460-off runs.
"We're disappointed we haven't won but it was a cracking game of Twenty20 cricket."
Finch was understandably content with his night's work.
"It was just one of those days where things it the middle of the bat and things went my way," he said.
"I'm still feeling pretty good to be honest.
"It was a beautiful wicket and the outfield was lightning so all you had to do was hit the gap early and you got maximum value.
"It was a beautiful place to bat. I'm not sure the bowlers will be too happy about it though."
Australia's win also ended a 200-day run without success on the international stage.
The tourists had not won since beating West Indies in a one-day international at Melbourne on February 10.
During that time a winless tour of India was followed by an early Champions Trophy exit and their 3-0 Ashes defeat.
"It's a huge boost," Finch said.
"There have been a lot of new players come in so there is a lot guys ready to go so there hasn't been a lot of baggage carried over from the Ashes.
"Everyone is really confident."