Finch glad of Aussie 'boost'
Southampton - Record-breaking batsman Aaron Finch was delighted his stunning innings helped Australia end a 200-day spell without an international win.
Finch's remarkable 156, the highest score in a Twenty20 international, was the cornerstone of Australia's 39-run win in the first T20 against England at Southampton on Thursday.
The 26-year-old Victoria opener, who didn't feature in the preceding 3-0 Ashes Test series loss to England, struck a record 14 sixes in his 63-ball innings as Australia made 248 for six -- the second-highest T20 international team score - on a superb pitch for batting at the Ageas Bowl.
England responded with their own second-best Twenty20 score, 209 for six, but even Joe Root's unbeaten 90 failed to give them any real hope of victory.
Australia hadn't won a major international match since a 17-run one-day international victory over the West Indies at Melbourne on February 10, a sequence that encompassed a winless tour of India, an early exit from the Champions Trophy and the Ashes reverse.
"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," he added ahead of the second and final match of this series in Durham on Saturday.
As for his own innings, Finch said: "It was just one of those days where things hit the middle of the bat and things went my way. 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."
England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad, himself a fast-medium bowler, agreed.
"I think here the batsmen want to pitch a tent up and the bowlers have their passport in their pocket ready for Durham," he said.
It looked as if England were set for a humiliating defeat as they lost early wickets in pursuit of a daunting total but Root's innings ensured the eventual margin was a lot narrower than had seemed likely in a match where the teams' combined 457 runs was also a Twenty20 international record.
"I'm very proud of the guys who showed up in our side and fell just short of our highest international score," Broad said.
"It would have been very easy to be 100 all out there and fallen down. The crowd would have gone home unhappy. We're disappointed we haven't won but it was a cracking game of Twenty20 cricket."
He added: "It was special striking from Finch, to hit 14 sixes in an innings.
"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."
Root suffered a cut to his mouth early in his innings after a Josh Hazlewood delivery evaded the grille of his helmet.
"It makes his knock even better," Broad said. "He's got over an inch laceration inside his mouth which is quite a nasty one.
"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," added Broad in what appeared to be a joking reference to the Birmingham bar-room attack on Root by Australia's David Warner in June.