He also gave the panel something else to consider as he whacked an unbeaten 145 off 65 balls in Pallekele: should he be the team’s long-term opener in the shortest form of the game?
Maxwell struck nine sixes in the second-highest international Twenty20 individual score of all time as Australia posted a world record 3-263 before they held Sri Lanka to 9-178.
Australia’s massive total pipped the previous record of 6-260 set by Sri Lanka against Kenya in 2007.
Opening for the first time at T20 international level due to Aaron Finch’s broken finger, Maxwell was patient early, scoring one off his first six balls, before exploding into action.
“Batting at the top is somewhere I would love to bat,” Maxwell said.
“It’s easier to get into your innings. When you’re in the middle order you have to be proactive the whole time.”
Maxwell has also opened once in one-day internationals, hitting an unbeaten 51 from 35 balls against the West Indies in Perth in 2013.
“At the top of the order you’ve got a little bit more freedom to get yourself into the game and play some pretty good cricket shots without taking too many risks,” he said.
His knock came just a day after he was again excluded from Australia’s one-day squad for the upcoming away series against South Africa.
Having been dropped for the Sri Lankan 50-over series, he then averaged just 21.4 for Australia A in a Queensland quadrangular series last month, which included two ducks in his six innings.
“It was pretty demoralising,” he said.
“It was quite hard to get yourself up for those games from where I was at the start of this year.”
Maxwell at one stage seemed set to top Finch’s world record score of 156. The pair are housemates and the injured opener ran on drinks throughout Maxwell’s innings.
“He’d been telling me at every possible chance that I was going to beat his score,” Maxwell said.
“I knew it before I went out there, he’s told me about it 300 times and having lived with him, I’ve had to watch the highlights every day at home.”
There were also contributions from captain David Warner (28 from 16 balls), Usman Khawaja (36 from 22) and Travis Head (45 from 18) who was dismissed off the last ball of the innings.
In reply, the hosts slipped to 3-45 as fast bowlers Scott Boland and Mitchell Starc both claimed 3-26 for Australia, leaving Sri Lanka with their heaviest T20 defeat.
The final match of the tour, the second T20, will be played in Colombo on Friday.
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