England beaten in first ODI against Australia

Tourists lose by six wickets after home side chase down 269 total with 26 balls to spare

If this really was the opening step in the minting of a new era for English cricket

then it must be said it looked similar to one or two other new eras recent times in the one-day international game.

England lost their captain Alastair Cook in the first over of the match at the MCG, crunched around in reverse gear in the opening powerplay and ended up losing by six wickets as Australia chased down a 269 total with 26 balls to spare.

Powerplay specialists Aaron Finch and David Warner batted with severity against a callow attack to share an opening 163 in 28 overs that all but killed the game. Finch was dropped on eight and England fought gamely towards the end, but they were always behind here.


Wretched tour
If there was a freshness to this England team, with six changes from last week's Sydney Test, there was also some raggedness

, with the odd dropped catch and unfortunate overthrows, not to mention a sour moment as Warner was reprieved on 22 after TV umpire Kumar Dharmasena decided with little evidence that a catch taken by Jos Buttler off Ben Stokes kissed the grass on its way to the wicketkeeper.

Only Tim Bresnan of the front-line England bowlers had played a one-day international in Australia before. Not that the bowlers could be blamed for the timid tone set by England's steady-as-she-goes top order of Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root. Clint McKay opened the bowing for Australia. His fourth ball was pitched up on a teasing length. Cook edged to Brad Haddin and England's captain was obliged to trudge off.

England are playing to their strengths in batting steadily against the double new ball. But away from English conditions it can look fatally underpowered, not least when set against the might of Australia's own top three of Warner, Finch and Watson. The innings never recovered from a sedentary start that had Root lbw to McKay for a fretful three off 22 balls and Ian Bell bowled by Xavier Doherty for 41 off 56. Eoin Morgan looked uncluttered as he rebuilt alongside Gary Ballance, who top-scored with a fine 79.

The 50 partnership between England's affiliate left-handers came up off 53 balls and at 144-3 there was a sense they might press towards 300. Morgan, though, was out next ball and England were forced to enter the the accident black spot that is the batting powerplay with a new man at the crease. The next three overs brought 1- runs and the wicket of Ravi Bopara, before Buttler carved gamely at the death to take England to a moderate total.

Hard-working Jordan
Warner produced the first body shot of the Australian innings, crunching Boyd Rankin to the point boundary before Finch

was dropped horribly by Ballance at mid-off. It was a blow for the persevering Chris Jordan who might have dismissed both Australian openers and came back later to bowl Watson second ball.

The boisterous Finch and Warner brought up Australia's hundred in the 18th over before Warner was caught at long on by Stokes off Root for 64. Finch was eventually out, caught at third man by Ballance – 113 runs too late – for a match-winning 121. England will need to pick another bowler for the next game in Brisbane against powerful-looking opponents for whom the summer just keeps rolling along.
Guardian Service