England beaten in opening ODI
England's miserable tour of Australia continued as they crashed to a six-wicket defeat in the opening one-day international in Melbourne.
Chasing 270 for victory, Aussie openers Aaron Finch and David Warner put on 163 for the first wicket to stamp out any hope of Alastair Cook's men regaining a first modicum of pride after their 5-0 Ashes whitewash.
Finch eventually made 121 off 128 balls to become the first Victorian to make a century in a one-dayer at the MCG while Ashes tormentor Warner chipped in with 65.
As in the Test series, England were left to rue more missed chances which cost them any hope of seizing the initiative.
Gary Ballance should have held on at mid-off when he got two hands to a well-hit drive off Chris Jordan when Finch was on just eight. And Warner had also failed to reach double figures when he hammered back a difficult return chance to Jordan.
England did appear to have Warner for 22 only for him to survive a contentious moment when Jos Buttler claimed a catch behind, which the opener initially accepted.
Television replays were not as clear-cut and TV official Kumar Dharmasena decided to call Warner back after he had already made most of his way to the boundary's edge.
England did finally remove the two openers with Warner skying a catch to Ben Stokes at long-on while Finch was caught at third-man by Ballance off Stokes.
Jordan clean bowled Shane Watson for a second-ball duck as England saw a glimmer of light by turning Australia's 163-0 to 165-2 but skipper Michael Clarke hit a brisk 44 off 43 balls to quickly put the result beyond doubt again.
He eventually spliced a Tim Bresnan delivery to Cook at mid-off.
George Bailey (17no) and Glenn Maxwell (9no) saw Australia over the line with 4.2 overs to spare to put the hosts 1-0 up in the five-match series.
More woe for Cook
Earlier Cook had begun the day by failing to survive the first over, edging behind off Clint McKay (3-44), and a laboured start followed to suggest England were still struck by their Ashes malaise.
The tourists managed just 28-2 in the opening 10-over powerplay - during which Joe Root also scratched away for three from 23 balls.
Root simply failed to get going before burning England's review when McKay - whose initial five-over spell was two for 11 - swung one into his front pad.
Ballance's 79 - his maiden half-century - and a quickfire 50 from Eoin Morgan helped repair some of the the damage of the stuttering beginning and post a score that was greater than all but two of England's Ashes totals.
Ian Bell showed some fluency in reaching 41, before missing a slog sweep off Xavier Doherty, and it took Morgan - one of four England players included who were not involved in the 5-0 whitewash - to provide some urgency alongside Ballance in an 83-run stand for the fourth wicket.
His half-century came from 46 balls, but from his next delivery Morgan picked out Nathan Coulter-Nile, one of two fielders at cover, off Maxwell's gentle spin.
Morgan's exit was untimely, just four overs before the batting powerplay, during which England again struggled to impose themselves.
They scored 24 runs during it and also lost Ravi Bopara when he could only help a Coulter-Nile short ball through to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
Ballance continued to be the guiding force and brought up his first England half-century, in any format, from 69 balls.
Stokes was sent in ahead of Buttler - left to his 'finishing' duties - and smacked 21 from 20 balls before being bowled slogging at James Faulkner.
Ballance survived a drop chance on 74 when Doherty put him down at third man off McKay, but when the same set of circumstances played out three balls later the Australia spinner held on.
When Buttler (34 not out) was inserted he provided the hitting England required, with some help from Bresnan, as they took 40 from the last four overs.