Finch puts England to the sword
Australia opener Aaron Finch hit the highest-ever Twenty20 international score as England were set a target of 249 at the Ageas Bowl.
Finch blasted 14 sixes and 11 fours in an extraordinary innings of 156 from 63 balls in the first NatWest Twenty20 international.
The right-hander's record-breaking innings - which was Australia's first-ever Twenty20 century, the second fastest of all time and included the most sixes by one player - overshadowed the second highest-ever team total of 248 for six.
Finch brought up all of his landmarks with a six, including hitting his first ball over the ropes as he immediately served his intentions.
No England bowler was spared his brutal hitting until Jade Dernbach (three for 34) finally managed to locate his stumps, via an edge, in the 18th over.
It meant England were in grave danger of suffering a first defeat of the summer to Australia - who have not won any competitive international match for 200 days.
England had started well when they removed dangerman David Warner when his bat was unintentionally hurled from his grip as he skied Stuart Broad.
But from there Finch took centre stage.
The 26-year-old Victorian pulled Finn for six before producing an extraordinary swipe on one knee over cover for another maximum off Ravi Bopara.
His half-century arrived off 27 balls, launching Bopara for a straight six, and he appeared on course to beat Richard Levi's record 45-ball century.
Finch was briefly sedated as he crept up on triple figures, but when he did bring it up it was with a top-edged six off 47 balls.
The previous record individual score of 123, held by New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, was surpassed with yet another maximum over cover off Broad.
Dernbach finally ended the carnage when Finch played on and the England seamer then fooled Shane Watson with a slower ball in the same over.
That took the considerable steam out of the late Australia charge, after they handed a debut to their Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, and at least ensured they fell short of the highest-ever Twenty20 score of 260 for six set by Sri Lanka.