Aaron Finch helped Australia bury the memory of their Ashes agony, smashing a record 156 in a 39-run victory over England in the first Twenty20 clash at the Ageas Bowl.
The opener blasted no fewer than 14 sixes to help the tourists amass an astonishing 248 for 6 – the kind of total that must have left home skipper Stuart Broad regretting his decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
In fairness, England went down swinging. Joe Root recovered from a nasty blow to the grill of his helmet to make an unbeaten 90 from 49 balls, normally the kind of knock that would steal the headlines.
Ravi Bopara (45) helped put on 95 after seam duo Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazelwood had both claimed two wickets apiece to leave the hosts at 42 for 4.
Jos Buttler also weighed in with an entertaining 27, including using the reverse scoop to good effect, as the two rivals combined for a quite remarkable 457 runs in 40 overs.
Crucially, though, England managed only the five sixes in their reply, some way short of the record-breaking efforts of Finch that royally entertained a bumper crowd at the Ageas Bowl.
The Victorian had given England a warning of what was to come by clearing the ropes from the first ball he faced, off Steve Finn. He looked on course to post the fastest international century in the shortest form of the game before he seemingly suffered a bout of nerves in the 90s.
He still got through to his ton off 46 balls, posting Australia’s first-ever T20 century in the process, and astonishingly lifted his scoring rate still further, moving from 100 to 150 in a mere 13 deliveries.
By the time he was bowled by Jade Dernbach, the 26-year-old had also hammered 11 fours along with his new record total of maximums during his 63-ball blitz.
No bowler had been spared during the onslaught, with Root coming in for some particularly heavy punishment. He sent down just the one over at a cost of 27 runs, including being put over the rope three times by Finch.
It all seemed much better for England when David Warner fell early to Broad for a single, but Shaun Marsh (28) and Shane Watson, who hit 37 from 16, played useful cameos in support of the centurion.
In the end had it not been for Dernbach (3-34) the final Australian total could have been even bigger; the Surrey seamer cleaned up Watson with a lovely slower ball and then also castled Glenn Maxwell (one).
Finn trapped George Bailey lbw for one but conceded 45 from his four overs, while captain Broad was taken for 47. They were both still more economical than Danny Briggs, the Hampshire spinner suffering on his home ground as ended with 1-51.
Australia’s attack also came in for some punishment, debutant leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed and Hazlewood both going for 43, though the latter did dismiss Alex Hales and Luke Wright.. (Sky)