Australia stifle England, eye ODI series win
England captain Alastair Cook speaks at a press conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 11, 2014 - by Saeed Khan
Alastair Cook won the toss and chose to bat, but despite some promising starts no one went on to make a big score.
Irish-born Eoin Morgan made the highest total with 54 while tailender Tim Bresnan smashed 41 off 29 balls.
Australia started with a new look bowling attack of James Faulkner and James Pattinson and Cook took advantage of the absence of his Ashes destroyer Mitchell Johnson.
The England captain opened aggressively pulling Nathan Coulter-Nile for an early six and went on to hit Xavier Doherty for successive boundaries before being given out lbw to the spinner.
Cook won a reprieve on review with the ball clearly going over stumps as the luck finally seemed to be going England's way following a 5-0 Ashes whitewash and demoralising losses in the first two ODIs in Melbourne last Sunday and Brisbane on Friday.
But Cook did not last much longer with Glenn Maxwell taking a brilliant catch in the covers diving low to his right off Coulter-Nile.
Cook scored 35 off 36 balls, including five fours.
Ian Bell looked to be going well until he set off for a second run off Doherty only for David Warner to hit stumps with a remarkable long throw.
The England opener hit 29 off 35 balls, including four fours, before his second consecutive runout.
All-rounder Ben Stokes came in at number three for the first time and also survived an lbw on review.
This time it was skipper Michael Clarke who held another astounding dive catch barely off the ground from the bowling of Doherty. England were 91-3.
England lost the initiative as runs dried up and the spinners took the pace off the ball on a slowish deck.
Zimbabwe-born Gary Ballance and Brisbane centurion Morgan finally broke free, crashing 16 off a limp Pattinson over.
But as soon as they looked ready to lift off, Ballance lofted Coulter-Nile to Daniel Christian for an easy catch. He managed 26 off 42 balls and England were 121-4.
The visitors needed someone to stay at the crease and build a big partnership but Ravi Bopara also went on 21, nicking Faulkner to wicket keeper Brad Haddin.
Morgan threatened with a couple of big sixes, but he was caught and bowled by Christian, although he only walked after a brief row and television pictures showed the ball had indeed been taken cleanly.
Big-hitting Jos Buttler tried to press on but smashed an inside edge onto his wickets off Christian.
Stuart Broad went for one, skying Coulter-Nile to Haddin and number ten Chris Jordan clipped ten before holing out to Aaron Finch off Faulkner.
Australia stifled England with brilliant fielding and tight bowling, Xavier Doherty returning figures of one wicket for just 28 runs off his 10 overs, including two maidens.
Nathan Coulter-Nile picked up three wickets for 47 off 10.