Australia left with 1-1 series result after falling short at Chester-le-Street
Alex Hales fell short of a century for the second time in his Twenty20 International career, but his 94 was enough to ensure that England sealed a 27-run win at Chester-le-Street and squared the series 1-1.
Hales had previously made 99 against the West Indies last year, and was well set to become the first player to make a T20I hundred for England when he was dismissed.
Hales’ 94, which came off only 61 balls, was enough to take England to 195 for 5 in its 20 overs after being put in to bat by George Bailey, Australia’s captain. England’s opening stand was worth 111, with Michael Lumb, a veteran of T20 cricket, providing able support to Hales.
The opening stand was the best by an English pair in the shortest form of the game, equaling the 111 that Kevin Pietersen and Craig Kieswetter added against Australia in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in Barbados in 2010.
Hales went after James Faulkner, taking 19 off the opening over including a sweetly struck straight six. Lumb tonked Shane Watson over long-on and England raced to 61 at the end of the PowerPlay.
Hales reached his sixth T20I half-century in his 21st innings at the level off only 34 balls, but found himself separated from his opening partner soon. Lumb swept hard at Fawad Ahmed, the Pakistan-born legspinner who went wicketless on debut, and top-edged to be caught by the keeper.
Luke Wright kept England going with a breezy 30, but it was Hales, who only fell in the final ball of the penultimate over, who did the damage. Hales hit 11 fours and 2 sixes in his time at the crease, and even with two further wickets falling in the final over, England ended on a strong 195 for 5.
When Australia lost Aaron Finch, the hero of the first T20I with a record 156, early, the rest of the batsmen were left with plenty to do.
Not long after, Watson was sent back by David Warner, to be run out, and Australia was 15 for 2.
Warner then rebuilt in the company of Shaun Marsh, putting on 67 for the second wicket before Marsh slogged against Joe Root’s part-time off-spin and was bowled.
Australia then slumped to 113 for 5 and the chase was dead in the water. The lower order flailed unsuccessfully as Australia reached 168 for 9 in 20 overs.