MANCHESTER – Josh Hazlewood took three wickets as Australia beat world champions England by 19 runs to win the first one-day international at Old Trafford on Friday.
Hazlewood struck twice early on during a miserly haul of 3-26 from his full 10 overs as Australia defeated arch-rivals England for just the third time in 14 ODIs.
England, chasing 295 for victory, were a mere 22-2 off their first 10 overs.
And they were 57-4 when leg-spinner Adam Zampa struck twice in quick succession on his way to 4-55.
But Sam Billings, one of just two members of the England side who didn’t play in last year’s World Cup final, hit 118 – his maiden ODI hundred – after sharing a fifth-wicket stand of 113 with Jonny Bairstow (84) that gave the hosts hope of an unlikely win.
Earlier Australia, in their first match at this level against England since a World Cup semi-final loss last year, made 294-9.
They were in trouble at 123-5 before a stand of 126 between all-rounders Glenn Maxwell (77) and Mitchell Marsh (73) gave their bowlers enough runs to defend as they went 1-0 up in a three-match series.
“Marsh and Maxwell paced their partnership really well – they timed when to attack and when to soak up pressure and played two smart, mature innings,” Australia captain Aaron Finch told Sky Sports.
Player of the match Hazlewood added: “There was a bit there with the new ball and we made the most of it.”
England opener Jason Roy, fit again following a side injury, was brilliantly caught and bowled one-handed by Hazlewood for three before the fast bowler had Test captain Joe Root caught behind for one.
Zampa then removed Morgan (23) and dangerman Jos Buttler in quick succession, the latter to a fine running catch by Marnus Labuschagne.
Bairstow, however, hung in to complete a 78-ball, fifty.
But after upping the tempo, the opener mistimed a drive off Zampa and was well caught by Hazlewood, running in from wide long-on.
Yet England, with all-rounder Ben Stokes still on compassionate leave with his ill father in New Zealand, were not quite out of the game.
Billings, having ‘ramped’ a boundary off left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc, pulled a four off Pat Cummins at the start of the penultimate over to complete a 101-ball hundred.
But a target of 28 off the last over, from Mitchell Marsh, proved too much and Billings was dismissed off the last ball of the match, having surpassed his previous ODI best of 67 not out against Ireland at Southampton in July.
Morgan praised Billings, 29, for retaining the “desire” to push for a place despite making just 19 ODI appearances in a five-year England career.
“To come in and have his maiden hundred here is outstanding,” said Morgan. “It shows a lot of resilience and a lot of character.”
Fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, in their first one-day international since last year’s World Cup final, took three wickets apiece, with Australia in trouble at 123-5 after losing the toss on a blustery afternoon.
Archer, who bowled the decisive Super Over in England’s dramatic World Cup final win over New Zealand at Lord’s, clean bowled dynamic opener David Warner for just six on his way to figures of 3-57 and Wood’s 3-54 saw him strike first ball when Finch edged behind.
Australia were without Steve Smith who was hit on the head batting in the nets on Thursday but Marcus Stoinis, filling in at number three, made 43 before he was well caught by diving wicketkeeper Buttler off Wood.
The series continues at Old Trafford on Sunday.