A record 7th wicket partnership of 112 & a top all-round bowling display proved to be the difference for Australia as they beat England by 59 runs at the Ageas Bowl.
Matthew Wade (71*) and Mitchell Marsh (40*) came together in the 37th over with the visitors stumbling at 193/6 but counter attacked well to nudge Australia past 300 which proved beyond the hosts.
England would have fancied their chances when handily placed at 111/1 but followed Australia’s lead by losing well set batsmen throughout their chase.
Alex Hales (22) and Jason Roy (67) put on 76 for the 1st wicket before Hales pulled Marsh to Shane Watson at short midwicket. Roy looked in complete control as he went past fifty for the first time as an England player but he sliced one to backward point in Glenn Maxwell’s (1/29) first over.
James Taylor (49) and Eoin Morgan (38) put on another middling partnership before Taylor was clean bowled by Watson (2/39). Ben Stokes (13) scratched around before flicking one off Starc (2/55) to midwicket and then the wheels really came off with England losing three wickets with the score on 194 to end any hopes of a win. England eventually succumbing for 246.
Earlier Australia threw away a glorious start of their own with Joe Burns (44) and David Warner (59) putting on another fifty run opening partnership in their second match together.
Burns was slow to get going but after a watchful start started to open up. He was the first of four victims for Adil Rashid (4/59) but at the halfway stage Australia were 126/1 with their two best batsmen David Warner & Captain Steve Smith set.
However England kept tight lines throughout and with Moeen Ali (0/37) in parsimonious form at one end Rashid at the other reaped the benefits.
Rashid took four wickets – albeit two with full tosses – to stymie Australia’s batting. All the top four got starts but couldn’t go on as England continued to peg the Aussies back – at one stage losing five wickets for just 60 runs.
With Australia suddenly looking at a score around 270 up stepped Wade & Marsh to steer the game away from England and give the Aussies a 1-0 lead in this best of five ODI series.