Australia continued to assert their dominance over England with a comfortable victory in the first One Day International in Melbourne. A century from Aaron Finch made up the bulk of the Aussies' total, as they chased down England's target of 270 with time to spare.
England will take heart from the performances of some newcomers, most notably Gary Ballance, who scored 79, and Chris Jordan, who showed plenty of promise with the ball.
|England Innings: 269-7 (50 Overs)|
|AN Cook*||c †Haddin b McKay||4||4||1||0|
|IR Bell||b Doherty||41||56||2||1|
|JE Root||lbw b McKay||3||23||0||0|
|GS Ballance||c Doherty b McKay||79||96||6||0|
|EJG Morgan||c Coulter-Nile b Maxwell||50||47||5||1|
|RS Bopara||c †Haddin b Coulter-Nile||17||21||1||0|
|BA Stokes||b Faulkner||21||20||2||0|
|JC Buttler†||not out||34||24||1||1|
|TT Bresnan||not out||16||9||1||1|
|Extras||(lb 1, w 3)||4|
|Total||(7 wickets; 50 overs)||269|
|Australia Innings: 270-4 (45.4 Overs)|
|AJ Finch||c Ballance b Stokes||121||128||12||0|
|DA Warner||c Stokes b Root||65||72||5||1|
|SR Watson||b Jordan||0||2||0||0|
|MJ Clarke*||c Cook b Bresnan||43||42||6||0|
|GJ Bailey||not out||17||18||1||0|
|GJ Maxwell||not out||9||12||0||0|
|Extras||(lb 5, w 10)||15|
|Total||(4 wickets; 45.4 overs)||270|
ESPN Cric Info
It didn't matter that it was a different format, different kits and even some new players, it was the same old story for Alastair Cook and his England side. The skipper fell to the bowling of Clint McKay with just the fourth ball of the day, and England were already on the back foot.
They looked to be in complete disarray just six overs later, as McKay had Joe Root trapped for just three; England were teetering on 22-2.
The tourists tried to regroup, and scoring was an arduous task with the Aussie bowlers maintaining a tidy line and length. Frustration got the better of Ian Bell, who had played well for his 41, when he attempted to slog sweep Xavier Doherty; he was subsequently bowled.
Now at 62-3, England finally put a decent partnership together as Ballance and Eoin Morgan found themselves together at the crease. They moved the score on to 145-3, with Morgan playing freely and bringing his half-century up from just 46 balls.
The Irishman was out just one ball later, picking out the fielder in the covers from the bowling of Glenn Maxwell.
Ballance continued the assault however, and he brought up his maiden fifty in just his second ODI. Ravi Bopara came and went for just 17, whilst Ben Stokes helped move England past 200.
But the all-rounder fell a few deliveries later, and England were on 206-6 with just seven overs remaining.
Ballance was in all-out-attack mode now, and he eventually fell to the bowling of McKay for a very respectable knock of 79. Some late runs were added by Jos Buttler, as the England wicketkeeper smashed an unbeaten 34 from just 24 deliveries. Tim Bresnan finished on 16 not out and England set Australia a decent target of 270 to win.
But the Aussies' opening duo of Finch and David Warner were in no mood to hang around. They began with aggressive, attacking batting and helped by some nonsensical fielding lapses by England, proceeded to make mincemeat of the England total. Ballance dropping Finch when he was on just eight would prove to be especially costly.
They were assisted by a very questionable umpiring decision, it has to be said. Warner was walking off the pitch after Buttler had him caught behind off Stokes, but he was halted as the umpires wanted to take a closer look at the catch.
The replay indicated the catch was clean, but the umpires inexplicably overturned the decision and Warner was off the hook.
In truth, Warner deserved his luck as he and Finch played magnificently. The running between the wickets put England under pressure time and time again, leading to plenty of handling errors in the field. The most notable perhaps, from Tim Bresnan who had a particularly apt advertising board behind him as he let a ball trickle through him for four.
That’s not to take anything away from Warner and Finch, though. The latter moved to his fifty first, and Warner, who smashed one delivery for a 107-metre six, soon followed with the Aussies looking in wonderful shape at 128-0.
Their partnership continued beyond 150 and England looked set to be on the end of another embarrassing scoreline. But eventually the tourists notched a wicket, with Warner skying to Stokes on the boundary off the bowling of Root for 65.
Shane Watson strode out to the crease with the score at 163-1, but he was walking back to the dressing room not long afterwards as Jordan bowled him with a wonderful in-swinger. A glimmer of hope for England?
Finch sure put paid to that, as he continued to move through the gears, through the 90s and eventually to a well deserved century from just 108 balls. He'd go on to add another 21 runs before Stokes had him caught by Ballance.
Aussie skipper Michael Clarke helped the Australians along as he went after Tim Bresnan, playing with flair and plenty of attacking intent. He scored 43 from just 42 deliveries before holing out to Cook.
They were within touching distance of the total by this point, though, and George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell guided the Aussies to victory with 26 balls remaining.