Australia has asserted itself as the world’s premier one-day side, with Shane Watson bowling the tourists to a 59-run victory over England following an inspired Matthew Wade knock.
The World Cup winners declared their intentions pre-game to remind England that, despite a disappointing Ashes campaign, they were still the world’s top-ranked ODI side.
And at the Rose Bowl in Southampton they showed why that is still the case.
A vital, unbeaten 71 to Wade, who came to the crease at number seven and put on a record 112 along with Mitch Marsh, helped Australia to a defendable 6 for 305 despite several batting hiccups.
All six bowlers used by skipper Steve Smith finished with an England scalp, with Watson and pace trio Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile each claiming taking multiple wickets as England was bowled out for 246 with 27 balls remaining.
But it was the oft-maligned Watson who delivered two telling blows, removing England’s number three James Taylor for 49 and captain Eoin Morgan for 38 at crucial moments.
England enjoyed a bright start from Jason Roy (67) and Alex Hales (22), and were sailing along in the 27th over when Watson first struck.
He had looked enraged after an inside edge from Taylor evaded the stumps and went for four.
However, the very next ball the burly allrounder rattled the young batsman’s stumps with a big inswinger to reduce England to 3 for 152.
It brightened the mood of the 34-year-old, who has endured a difficult three-month Ashes tour in which he was dropped after the opening Test in Cardiff and had to watch from the stands as Australia handed back the urn.
Watson struck again by bouncing out Morgan, who gloved one down the legside to Wade.
Morgan’s dismissal gave Australia an instant boost, with Coulter-Nile then striking with his first two balls of the following over as England lost three wickets in four balls for no runs.
Coulter-Nile’s hat-trick ball came to nothing, but amid a collapse of 8 for 94 from Taylor’s exit, the match quickly became a no-contest.
Earlier, Australia’s innings was characterised by a number of wasted starts, an all-too-familiar middle-order collapse and crucial late-order hitting from Wade and Marsh which pushed the tourists past 300.
Australia scored 93 from the final ten overs as Wade reached into his bag of tricks, frustrating England’s batsmen with cheeky paddles to fine leg for four from outside off stump, while Marsh played the supporting role and finished unbeaten on 40.
Joe Burns took the dominant run-scoring role in the opening partnership, growing in confidence as he found gaps and chipped the infield for five boundaries.
But the 25-year-old threw away the chance for a second consecutive half-century when, on 44, he thumped a full toss back at Adil Rashid, who gleefully took the catch to chalk up his first of four victims.
It started a trend for the Australian top order, all of whom made starts, and all of whom fell to the 27-year-old Yorkshire legspinner.