Forgetful Finch buoys Australia
Aaron Finch took the plaudits for playing what proved to be the decisive innings as Australia ended their barren Twenty20 run - even if his memory appeared to let him down afterwards.
The Victorian, who made his debut in Wednesday’s defeat in Adelaide, won the match award on his home ground for a muscular unbeaten 53 off 33 balls, which lifted Australia to 147 for seven.
England fell four runs short in reply, ending their eight-match winning streak in Twenty20 and earning Australia a first win in six attempts - stretching back to May last year - as well as a share of the series.
Finch claimed playing straight was key to his success, although the whiff of euphoria may have added a rosier hue to his recollections.
While he hit Kevin Pietersen back over his head for six - one of two maximums in an innings also featuring four fours - there were numerous heaves into the leg side which were effective rather than elegant.
“This ground is suited to orthodox cricket shots,” he said. “You get value for shots here when you play that way.
“You’ve got short straight boundaries and wider square so it encourages you to play with good technique and hit through the line with good cricket shots.”
Victory was the first for Australia’s new Twenty20 captain Cameron White, who praised Finch’s efforts in rescuing Australia from 80 for five.
“It’s great for him,” White said of 24-year-old Finch. “Second game, home crowd, he should be very proud.”
The game also represented a rare Australia success over England during a winter that saw them win a solitary Ashes Test before suffering defeat in the opening Twenty20 by one wicket off the final ball in Adelaide.
“It is important; it beats losing for sure,” said White. “It was a good all-round effort.
“I thought we were a fraction short (with the bat) but I knew it was a score we could win with if we could bowl and field a little better than the other night.”
The seven-match one-day series gets under way at the same venue on Sunday, but White was reticent to read too much into today’s triumph.
“The one-day format is very different from 20 overs,” he said. “You might be able to take something forward, but it’s a new competition starting Sunday.”