|First one-day international, The Oval:|
|Australia 214 (47 overs): Maxwell 62, Plunkett 3-42, Moeen 3-43|
|England 218-7 (44 overs): Morgan 69, Root 50, Willey 35*|
|England won by three wickets|
England made heavy work of a run-chase before eventually completing a three-wicket win over Australia in the first one-day international at The Oval.
Chasing 215 for victory, the home side were reduced to 38-3.
And, after Eoin Morgan and Joe Root shared 115, they lost three wickets for 10 runs to slip to 163-6 in the face of some excellent Australia pace bowling.
However, David Willey made an unbeaten 35 to secure victory with six overs to spare.
Australia were playing their first ODI since the ball-tampering scandal resulted in bans for Steve Smith and David Warner, as well as the resignation of coach Darren Lehmann.
New Australia captain Tim Paine introduced a pre-series handshake between the two teams, then saw his side struggle against England’s spinners.
Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid took five wickets between them and, after Australia fell to 90-5, they needed Glenn Maxwell (62) and Ashton Agar (42) to drag them to 214 all out.
That did not seem enough on a blameless surface but England’s two mini-collapses kept the contest interesting long into the London evening.
The second game in the five-match series is in Cardiff on Saturday.
England return to winning ways against new-look Aussies
England – the world number ones – were well below their best in suffering a first defeat by Scotland in a run-filled contest in Edinburgh on Sunday.
Here, they were vastly improved with the ball but repeated some of the wasteful batting that cost them at The Grange.
Even if Australia had been at full strength, England would have been favourites for this series – they won the winter ODIs 4-1 after being outplayed in the Ashes.
As well as suspended former captain Smith and his deputy Warner, injuries have robbed the tourists of pace trio Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
Their inexperienced side, from which only Paine and Shaun Marsh were playing in the South Africa Test when the ball-tampering took place, were given the occasional reminder of the controversy.
One company handed out advertisements on sandpaper at nearby tube stations, while a handful of spectators waved more sheets at Australian boundary fielders.
England stutter on the way to victory
The early burst of Australia’s new-look attack gave the tourists real hope – Jason Roy was bowled by the pacy Billy Stanlake, debutant Michael Neser pinned Alex Hales lbw and Jonny Bairstow hooked Kane Richardson to deep square leg.
Captain Morgan and Test counterpart Root rebuilt with serenity. Morgan swept and flicked the spinners in his 69, while Root played drives and deflections, as well as scampering between the wickets for exactly 50.
England were on course for a comfortable victory, only for the impressive Australian fast bowlers to cause tension with their skill, accuracy and variations.
Morgan bottom-edged behind and Jos Buttler, who had been reprieved from a skier by wicketkeeper Paine, miscued to mid-on, both off Andrew Tye. After that, Root edged Stanlake to give Paine the chance to make amends.
Moeen and Willey steadied in a stand of 34 yet, just as he did in Scotland, Moeen needlessly holed out on the leg side when England were in sight of victory.
Liam Plunkett impressed with the bat on Sunday and supported the calm Willey, the eighth-wicket pair happy to absorb the pressure and pinch singles before Willey won it with a magnificent straight six.
England’s spinners lead the way
After the tourists won the toss on a warm afternoon, a brisk Australia start had off-spinner Moeen into the attack in the ninth over.
He took advantage of some poor strokes – Aaron Finch skewed to short third man, Marsh’s flimsy defence cost him his off stump and Paine reverse-swept into the hands of Mark Wood.
Moeen’s 3-43 would have been more economical had Maxwell not hit a six and two fours in his final over.
Maxwell showed glimpses of his power in a stand of 84 with the classy Agar, who made 98 as a number 11 on Test debut at Trent Bridge in 2013.
But, when Maxwell found Bairstow at deep square leg off Plunkett, Australia’s hopes of an imposing total went with him.
The wily Rashid earlier had Marcus Stoinis caught behind and trapped Agar leg before, going through all his tricks for 2-36, leaving the pacemen to mop up the tail.
Morgan works out Australia’s weakness – what they said
England Test bowler James Anderson, on Test Match Special: “Australia are vulnerable against spin.
“The top order don’t look comfortable starting their innings against spin. It was a great decision by Eoin Morgan to get the spinners on early.”
England captain Eoin Morgan: “We had to stem the flow and the spinners changed the pace of the game and created opportunities.
“Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have been big threats in those middle overs for a few years now and they’re getting even more experienced all the time.
“Australia came back and bowled well after I felt we bowled really well. We were below par with the bat. It was the opposite to Scotland, getting close to chasing 370 and then being seven down chasing 215 today. But it’s important to show that even when it’s not our day we can still get over the line.
“It was a good-natured game. They’re a strong side, it was really competitive but played in the right spirit.”