(Updates with result)
SOUTHAMPTON, England, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Australia opener Aaron Finch smashed the highest score in a Twenty20 international on Thursday when he reached 156 in his team's 248 for six in the first of two matches against England.
The burly Australian struck 11 fours and 14 sixes off 63 balls to better the previous best of 123 scored by New Zealander Brendon McCullum.
His efforts helped Australia to 248 for six, a total beyond England's reach despite the effort of Ashes opener Joe Root who stroked 90 not out off 49 balls, batting at number five, in their 209 for six.
Finch had also been on course to break the record for the fastest T20 international century before eventually reaching his hundred from 47 balls, two outside the mark set by South African Richard Levi.
"Luckily today was my day, any one of them could have gone straight up in the air," he told Sky Sports. (Writing by John Mehaffey in London; editing by Tom Bartlett and Ken Ferris)