Birmingham: Ian Bell cracked a responsible 91 and James Anderson scalped three wickets as England dished out a disciplined allround performance to notch up a convincing 48-run victory over Australia in their Group A match of the Champions Trophy here on Saturday.
Riding on Bell`s half-century, England first posted a challenging 269 for six, despite some good bowling by the Australian bowlers, after electing to bat.
The hosts then returned to tighten the noose around Australia`s neck with a very disciplined bowling display and eventually restricted the visitors for 221-9 in their 50 overs at Edgbaston here.
Seamer James Anderson became the highest wicket-taker in one-day cricket for England during his three-wicket haul as he along with Tim Bresnan (2/45) and Stuart Broad (1/35) put Australia under tremendous pressure.
Spinners James Tredwell (1/51) and part-time spinners Joe Root (1/20) and Ravi Bopara (1/34) also supported the pacers well and didn`t allow the Aussies to free their arms.
For Australia, skipper George Bailey was the top-scorer with a 69-ball 55, while James Faulkner scored an unbeaten 54 but they never got the support from the other end as Australia kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Earlier, Bell`s partnership of 111 with Jonathan Trott, who made 43, was the backbone of the English innings as Bopara (46 no, 3x4, 1x6) struck a few meaty blows in the end.
During his 115-ball innings, Bell hit seven boundaries and seldom did he hit any rash stroke.
Bopara provided the late charge and added 56 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket stand with Tim Bresnan (19 no) after England were reduced to 213 for six at one stage.
For Australia, seamers Clint Mckay (2/38) and James Faulkner (2/48) were the most successful bowlers.
Chasing 270 to win, Australian openers David Warner and Shane Watson found the going tough right from the beginning, thanks to a tight and consistent line by England pacers.
The first boundary for Australia came only in the fourth over when Watson came up with a well-timed flick across the square leg.
However, Broad accounted for Warner (9) in the sixth over when he induced an edged off the batsman to Jos Buttler, who took a fine catch behind the stumps.
Two overs later, Watson and Hughes managed two boundaries -- one off a miscued leading edge by the opener, while the other an excellent drive by the new batsman. However, with the seamers bowling in tandem, Australia could manage only 35 runs in the first power play.
Bresnan was introduced into the attack then and Hughes welcomed him with an sweetly-timed drive past extra cover for a much-needed boundary. However, the pacer along with spinner Tredwell tightened the screw further to dry up the runs.
Bresnan was rewarded for his hard work as he dismissed Watson in the 15th over when he trapped him in front of wicket in his 3rd over.
The 23rd over turned out to be a good over for Australia as they piled up 13 runs with the help of two boundaries. But things worsened for Australia when Joe Root dismissed Hughes in the 26th over, trapping him before wicket.
Skipper Bailey and Adam Voges then combined as Australia crossed the 100-mark in the 28th over but quick runs still eluded them.
In the 33rd over, Bailey decided to go for the batting power play but the decision backfired as Bresnan cleaned up Voges in his fourth delivery when he was trying to go for a big hit.
Anderson then picked up Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade in one over to reduce the visitors to 136 for six in 36 overs.
Marsh was caught by Eoin Morgan off a loose stroke in the first ball of the 36th over, while Wade edged Anderson`s last ball to Buttler as Australia could manage only 16 runs for 3 wickets in their Powerplay.
Bailey brought up his fifty in the 37th over but he was dismissed by Tredwell in the 40th over when he tried to dance down the pitch, looking to accelerate.
Faulkner then tried their bit but to no avail as Australia slumped to a defeat in their campaign opener.
Earlier, opting to bat, Bell along with skipper Alastair Cook (30) added 57 runs for the opening stand before Shane Watson got the breakthrough. He induced an edge off Cook`s bat which was taken by Matthew Wade behind the stumps.
Bell found an able ally in Trott as the duo added 111 runs in only 22 overs. They kept a steady run-rate during the phase of play without taking much risk.
Trott, who was playing the role of second fiddle to perfection finally made a mistake when he chased a widish delivery from Mitchell Starc to be caught by Wade.
Bell, on the other hand, kept his cool as he slowly approached the three-figure mark. The experienced right-hander misjudged the line of a fuller delivery bowled by Faulkner to get bowled.
The collapse started at this very juncture as young Joe Root (12) was out in the very next over without a single run being added to the score. Root flicked a slower one from Mckay to rival skipper Bailey fielding at mid-wicket.
From 189 for two, it suddenly became 189 for four.
Eoin Morgan (8) shuffled across and lost the leg-stump in the process off Mckay while Jos Butler (1) was played-on to give Faulkner his second scalp.
The second Powerplay proved to be a productive one for Australia as England scored only 23 runs and lost two wickets in the process.