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England lose record-breaking Ageas Bowl international
IT was not supposed to be like this.
First Michael Carberry was denied the chance to play for England on his home ground and then Australia's latest hard-hitting opening batsman hit a world record 156, from just 63 balls, smashing three of his 14 sixes in one Danny Briggs over.
Having been told of his non-selection, Carberry cut a subdued figure as the England team prepared for the Ageas Bowl’s third T20 international and the first on the ground for seven years.
But he had a better night than England’s bowlers as Aaron Finch-inspired Australia racked up a gargantuan 248-6, surpassing the 225-2 Hampshire made against Middlesex in 2006 as the highest T20 total made at The Ageas Bowl.
Ironically, Carberry made 90 on that occasion, which until his hundred in this year’s quarter-final against Lancashire was his highest score in the shortest format.
But it is doubtful whether even he could have produced the sort of clean hitting with which Finch bullied England’s attack as the tourists amassed the second-highest total in a T20 international.
Finch pulled his first ball, from Steven Finn, for six and did not take his foot off the accelerator. The bizarre dismissal of David Warner in the following over, caught after losing his bat as he attempted to pull, was soon forgotten as Finch hit the hapless Finn for a flurry of fours.
Jade Dernbach escaped the carnage with the least damage of England’s attack, finishing with a respectable 3-34, but he was Finched when he came on to bowl the final powerplay over.
Australia’s new batting star hit Surrey’s all-sorts seamer for an astonishing six over cover – after slipping on to his pads!
While the result was one to forget, Briggs’s first international on his home ground made this a historic night for Hampshire’s academy, which is giving Saints a run for its money as the most fruitful breeding ground in the country.
As he does for Hampshire, Briggs came on to bowl the seventh over, the first after the powerplay, when the Aussies were a relatively pedestrian 58-1.
There was no mercy shown to the Islander as left-hander Shaun Marsh hit him for six over cow corner en route to a 21-ball 28.
But this was Finch’s night. He had his highest T20 score when he slammed Ravi Bopara’s medium pace for a straight six, reaching fifty from only 26 balls in the eighth over.
Briggs was let down by Michael Lumb, his former Hampshire teammate diving over the top of an on-driven Finch four, in his second.
But at least he did not suffer the same fate as the only other England spinner used last night. Runs haemorrhaged from every conceivable angle in Joe Root’s only over, his off-spin costing 27 as Finch followed three successive sixes with back-to-back fours.
Briggs did well to stem the flow, but he was taken out of the attack, with figures of 3-0-28-1, despite claiming the wicket of Marsh, who lofted him straight to Lumb at long-on.
No-one could stop Finch, who had scored 116 runs in six T20 internationals before last night and reached his 47-ball hundred (two shy of the quickest in T20 internationals) in the 14th over with his eighth six, a top-edged pull against Broad sailing over fine-leg.
Shane Watson joined in the fun during a 16-ball 37 that featured the sort of orthodox shots that illuminated the unbeaten 97 he made in his previous T20 appearance at The Ageas Bowl, for Hampshire against Kent in 2004. He drove two sweet sixes back over the heads of Luke Wright and then Broad, in the same over that Finch slapped the England captain over the cover boundary to go past the previous highest individual T20 international score (New Zealander Brendon McCullum’s 123 against Bangladesh last September).
Briggs was brought back to bowl the 17th over and with Finch in full flow, it was far from his best. The right-handed Victorian bashed three more leg-side maximums as Briggs finished with his most expensive t20 figures (he had not conceded more than 38 in 69 career appearances before last night).
Finch departed to a standing ovation when Dernbach knocked out his middle stump with 16 balls remaining. Watson was also bowled by a Dernbach slower ball two balls later and two other former Hampshire players, captain George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell, followed cheaply as the Aussies fell shy of the highest T20 international total (Sri Lanka’s 260-6 against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg six years ago). While Carberry’s omission was disappointing it was not a complete surprise as Lumb-Hales-Wright has now been England’s top three for eight successive T20 internationals.
But he would not have done any worse than last night’s top four. Lumb was lbw for an 11-ball 22 in his first international appearance at the ground he used to call home, as England slumped to 42-4 midway through the fifth over.
From there, they did well to make 209-6, remarkably their second-highest T20 total.
The wicket prepared by groundsman Nigel Gray and his staff was so good that they could celebrate a a record aggregate of 457 runs, the highest in a T20 international. No-one in the 19,281 crowd can argue they did not get full value for money.
Joe Root, playing at the Ageas Bowl for the first time since his career-best 236 for Yorkshire in the LV County Championship last year, required treatment from another former Hampshire man, physio Craig De Weymarn, after a Josh Hazlewood bouncer struck him in the face early on.
He held the innings together with an unbeaten 90 from 49 balls and Jos Buttler also reacted positively to being struck by a Watson bouncer, following Ravi Bopara’s 29-ball 45 with a 17-ball 27.
But England were 39 runs short in the end, with Finch’s monster hitting and Australia’s total of 18 sixes to England’s five ultimately proving the difference.
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