Australia 270-4 (Finch 121, Warner 65) beat
England 269-7 (Ballance 79) by six wickets
First One-Day International, Melbourne
Aaron Finch made the best of some good fortune to hit 121 to help Australia easily overhaul a target of 270 and win the first One-Day International against England in Melbourne by six wickets.
Finch, dropped on more than one occasion during his innings, put on 163 with David Warner (65) which is a record for an Australian opening partnership against England.
The right-hander smacked 12 fours as he set the tone for Australia to make England's score of 269 for seven look woefully inadequate.
It had been a decent effort from a batsman-heavy England side with half-centuries from Gary Ballance (79) and Eoin Morgan (50) holding things together after the early departures of Alastair Cook, for four, and Joe Root for three.
Ian Bell made 41 at the top of the order to begin the recovery while Ravi Bopara (21 in 20 balls), Jos Buttler (34 not out in 24) and Tim Bresnan (16 not out in nine) added some quick late runs to help England finish on a reasonable score.
Clint McKay, with three for 44, was the pick of the bowlers as Nathan Coulter-Nile, Glenn Maxwell, Xavier Doherty and James Faulkner taking a wicket apiece.
Chris Jordan, in particular, bowled well for England early on and had Finch dropped off his bowling by Ballance for 13.
Finch took full advantage of that and further mishaps in the field from England to score his second ODI century, doing so by overshadowing Warner, who made 65 in 72 balls before he was caught by Stokes off Root - England's spin option after they decided not to play a specialist slow bowler.
Warner was also perhaps fortunate to score as many runs as he did. He was walking off having edged to Buttler before deciding to return when replays on the big screen suggested - as they nearly always do - that the ball may not have quite carried. Inevitably, once the decision was belatedly referred to the third umpire, he was reprieved.
Jordan did get some reward when he bowled Shane Watson for a two-ball duck but Finch carried on regardless, adding 72 with Michael Clarke (43 in 42 balls) before he was finally caught by Ballance at third man off Stokes in the 40th over.
Two overs later, Clarke lobbed a catch to Cook off Bresnan but it came far too late for England to mount a comeback.
George Bailey, on 17 not out, and Glenn Maxwell, unbeaten on nine, saw Australia home with more than four overs to spare.
The second game in the five-match series is in Brisbane on Friday 17th January, although before that, England take on a Prime Minister's XI in Canberra on Tuesday (14th January).
© Cricket World 2014