Half-centuries from Matthew Wade (71*) and David Warner (59) helped Australia defeat England in-front of an almost 22,000 strong Ageas Bowl crowd, as the visitors claimed a 59-run victory in the opening Royal London One-Day International.
In the first clash of the series, Steve Smith’s side posted an impressive 305-6 in their first-innings effort, largely thanks to Wade and Warner alongside an unbeaten knock from Mitchell Marsh (40*).
England began positively with Jason Roy (69) and James Taylor (49) featuring prominently for the hosts but a flurry of wickets during the middle overs meant they ultimately fell short in their pursuit.
After electing to bat first, Australia began their innings well - Warner and Joe Burns (44) making good first use of the typically good Ageas Bowl surface prepared by groundsman Nigel Gray – reaching 76-0 in the opening powerplay overs.
Rashid soon broke the opening partnership however, and with Warner departing shortly after reaching his half-century, England’s leg-spinner ripped through the away-sides top-order to see the hosts claim the next four wickets for just 60 runs.
Wade and Marsh led the fightback and the duo combined nicely to see the total move beyond 250 without further loss and still five overs remaining.
The pair then increased their scoring rate significantly with a final flourish advancing their score to 305-6 to conclude their allotted overs.
In reply, England’s opening pair of Roy and Alex Hales (22) wowed the sell-out crowd with an array of elegant boundaries to see a solid foundation built at 60-0 from the opening 10 overs.
Despite Hales departing shortly after, Roy and James Taylor (49) sought to continue the positive momentum and they looked to be doing so until their 42-run partnership ended with Roy slicing former Hampshire all-rounder Glenn Maxwell to cover-point.
Taylor was the next to depart and his dismissal sparked a small collapse as five wickets fell for the addition of just 42 runs, including two wickets in two balls from Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-39).
England were unable to recover and needing 95 from the final 11 overs, the task proved to ultimately be too tall an order, despite Moeen Ali’s (17) valiant efforts, as Australia claimed the opening win of the series.
Words: Will Brewster