Alex Hales, in Chester-le-Street, on Saturday. (Reuters)
Chester-le-Street: Alex Hales’ 94 provided the platform for England’s 27--run win against Australia in the second Twenty20 International on Saturday as the two-match series ended all square at 1-1.
Australia, set 196 for victory, finished on 168 for nine at Chester-le-Street with opener Aaron Finch – who made a T20 International record 156 in the tourists’ 39-run win at Southampton on Thursday – out for just five.
David Warner top-scored for Australia with 53 but they were rarely up with the rate as seamer Jade Dernbach took three wickets for 23 runs in his allotted four overs.
Earlier, opening batsman Hales just failed again to become the first England batsman to score a Twenty20 International hundred as he took the hosts to 195 for five.
Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, wicketless on debut at Southampton, took his first international wickets to finish with three for 25.
Hales, who made 99 in a T20I against the West Indies last year, shared an opening stand of 111 with Michael Lumb (43). That partnership equalled England’s best for any wicket against Australia in a T20I, with Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen having put on 111 for the second wicket in England’s 2010 World Twenty20 final win over their arch-rivals in Bridgetown, Barbados.
England, in a mirror image of Thursday’s match, were sent in to bat by Australia captain George Bailey.
The Powerplay ended with England at 61 without loss off six overs after a blizzard of boundaries.
Hales drove a straight six as James Faulkner’s opening over went for 19 runs and left-hander Lumb struck all-rounder Shane Watson high over long-on for six.
It was not long before Hales completed a 34-ball fifty – his sixth half-century in 21 innings at this level.
However, the first-wicket stand was broken when Lumb top-edged a sweep off Ahmed and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.
Luke Wright added a quickfire 30 before he was well caught by a leaping Mitchell Johnson at mid-off after driving a Faulkner full toss.
Hales, off the last ball of the penultimate over, was caught by Warner, running in from long-on, off Faulkner to end a 61-ball innings featuring 11 fours and two sixes.
In contrast to the first innings, Australia lost early wickets with Finch out to his fifth ball when he top-edged a hook off England’s T20I captain Stuart Broad to Wright at mid-on.
And when Watson, sent back by Warner, was run out by Eoin Morgan’s direct hit from backward point, Australia were 15 for two.