London – Moeen Ali took three wickets as number one-ranked England tried to put their shock six-run loss to Scotland behind them by dismissing Australia for just 214 in the first one-day international at The Oval on Wednesday.
Off-spinner Ali took three wickets for 43 runs in 10 overs and leg-spinner Adil Rashid two for 36.
This match had started with Australia, keen to show the more sporting side of their nature, shaking hands with their England counterparts — a move instigated by new captain Tim Paine.
But their familiar problems against spin, evident in warm-up wins over Sussex and Middlesex where they twice failed to post 300 batting first, resurfaced.
Wickets fell steadily either side of a sixth-wicket stand of 84 between Glenn Maxwell (62) and Ashton Agar (40), the only two Australia batsmen to get beyond 24.
This was Australia’s first international series since their tour of South Africa saw former captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner — two of the world’s leading batsmen — given year-long bans by Cricket Australia for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal during the third Test in Cape Town in March.
Top-order batsman Cameron Bancroft, who applied sandpaper to the ball, was given a nine-month ban.
World champions Australia came into this match having lost their last three ODI series — a sequence that included a 4-1 loss at home to England in January.
England, the 2019 World Cup hosts, struggled for early wickets in their stunning defeat by Scotland.
But they had no such trouble at The Oval, with Australia 90 for five inside 20 overs after Paine won the toss.
Left-arm quick David Willey struck second ball to have Travis Head caught at first slip by Jonny Bairstow off an outswinger before the spinners took charge.
Ali justified his introduction into the attack as first-change with two wickets for three runs in eight balls
He had the experienced Aaron Finch (19) slicing to short third man before Shaun Marsh (24) was bowled by a turning delivery.
Paine (12) fell in similar fashion to Finch, a needless reverse-sweep lobbing gently to Mark Wood at short third man.
Marcus Stonis, who made a hundred against Sussex, drove Ali for six but on 24 he was caught behind by wicket-keeper Jos Buttler — the only change to the side beaten by Scotland — cutting at Rashid.
England, without injured all-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, were now well on top.
Maxwell, twice out in single figures during the warm-ups, hit his first ODI fifty in 10 innings.
The all-rounder struck two superb sixes over long-off against Ali and part-time off-spinner Joe Root.
But his near run-a-ball knock ended when he flicked at paceman Liam Plunkett and Bairstow, running round on the deep square leg boundary, held a good catch.
Agar offered solid support before he was plumb lbw to Rashid and the innings then fell away, with Plunkett taking three for 42.