Australia exacted a slice of instant revenge for their Ashes defeat as they struck the first blow of the one-day international series at the Ageas Bowl.
It was a second straight defeat on Hampshire soil for England after their loss to New Zealand back in June as Steve Smith’s side sealed a 59-run success to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
At the midway stage, Australia posted a total of 305 for six that looked competitive, without being daunting.
It underlined the improvements in England’s 50-over cricket in recent times that it wasn’t instantly written off as an insurmountable target, although it later proved to be more than enough as the home side were bowled out for 246.
But the key phase of the match came in a late rally from Matt Wade (71 not out) and Mitchell Marsh (40 not out), who blazed 112 runs from the final 13 overs of the Australian innings.
At 193 for six, they were in real trouble after the loss of three quick wickets.
But the seventh-wicket partnership cracked 93 runs between them from the final 10 overs to boost the total.
Even in defeat, there is a different feel about the England side these days.
The way they now play with more freedom and expression is far more entertaining and at least gives them a chance of competing with the top nations in future World Cups.
Aside from the batting, the other weapon they have at their disposal is wicket-taking bowlers.
Rather than the old containing policy with the ball, they are prepared to risk conceding a few extra runs to chase wickets.
That was perhaps summed up by Adil Rashid. Although he went for 59 runs from his 10 overs, which might be seen as expensive, he picked up four wickets in the process and ensured Australia were never in the hunt for a 350 score.
Two of his wickets weren’t exactly ones for the purists as they came from full tosses – one smashed back at him by Joe Burns (44) before Ben Stokes took a catch in the deep to remove skipper Steve Smith (44).
But Rashid also impressed as he dismissed the dangerous David Warner (59) just as he was getting into his full stride and trapped George Bailey leg before wicket for 23.
In reply, England started with real fluency – especially Jason Roy (67), who looked in fabulous touch.
Alex Hales (22) was the first to depart – pulling Shane Watson to Marsh – but the 70-run opening stand looked a decent platform.
The recalled James Taylor then struck an impressive 51-ball 49 but played a poor shot when he looked well set.
Eoin Morgan (38) was some way short of his best but appeared to have seen out a tricky patch before he gloved a Watson bouncer to keeper Wade.
Ben Stokes (13) looked well out of sorts, Jos Buttler (four) failed to get going and England were heading for defeat when Rashid (11) and Chris Woakes (nought) went in quick succession.
Sure enough, their slim hopes disappeared when Moeen Ali (17) hoiked into the sky to give Pat Cummins a first wicket before the same man rearranged Steve Finn’s stumps to finish the job.