MANCHESTER: England survived a dramatic collapse to beat Australia by one wicket in the third one-day international at Old Trafford here on Sunday and so take an unbeateable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
England, set 213 to win, after off-spinner and man-of-the-match Graeme Swann took four wickets 37 runs, were cruising to victory at 185 for three.
But they lost six wickets for 18 runs in 39 balls as they slumped to 203 for nine.
One of the men out was England captain Andrew Strauss, who made his best ODI score against Australia of 87.
But Tim Bresnan (14 not out) held his nerve and, with four needed off the last over, edged James Hopes to the boundary as England, who finished on 214 for nine, won with five balls to spare.
Strauss was caught behind off Ryan Harris before left-arm quick Doug Bollinger (three for 20 in 10 overs) and fast bowler Shaun Tait, playing his first ODI since February last year, ran through the tail.
England's victory ended world champions Australia's run of seven straight one-day series and tournament wins following their 3-2 loss in South Africa last year.
It also meant Ashes holders England, who beat the Aussies in last month's World Twenty20 final in Barbados, had completed a 'treble' of victories in all three international formats against Australia.
Australia were without injured fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.
But it was a top-order lacking only wicketkeeper/batsman Brad Haddin that failed, as did captain Ricky Ponting, who was stumped for three.
Swann did most of the damage and pace bowler James Anderson, on his Lancashire home ground, polished off the tail on his way to three for 22 off eight as Australia were bowled out for 212 with four overs to spare.
Shane Watson top-scored for Australia with 61 while Tim Paine, Haddin's replacement, made a brisk 44.
Australia were given fresh hope when Tait, called up in place of injured off-spinner Nathan Hauritz on Friday, produced a brilliant 95mph yorker with only his fourth ball to bowl Craig Kieswetter middle stump for nought.
Strauss, on 23, then survived a huge lbw shout from part-time left-arm spinner Michael Clarke. English umpire Ian Gould was unmoved although replays suggested the ball would have hit the stumps.
But Australia did have a second wicket to celebrate when Tait held a sharp return catch to dismiss Kevin Pietersen for 25 on the South Africa-born batsman's 30th birthday.
Left-hander Strauss shared stands of 76 with Paul Collingwood (40) and 57 with Eoin Morgan (27) before he fell having faced 121 balls with eight fours.
Strauss fielded first after England had twice won chasing in four-wicket victories at the Rose Bowl and Cardiff earlier this week.
Paine was severe on Bresnan, taking 18 off one over from the Yorkshire seamer.
But a first-wicket stand worth 75 ended in the 14th over as Yardy, with his third ball, had Paine, playing back, plumb lbw.
Ponting's best score in four previous innings this tour was 33, against Ireland. Here his 16-ball struggle ended when, going down the pitch, he was beaten legside by Swann and wicketkeeper Kieswetter completed a neat stumping.
Watson went on to a 54-ball fifty but gave his wicket away when top-edging a flick off Swann to square leg where Strauss held the easy catch.
Anderson ended the innings with a burst of three for five in seven balls.
The series continues with a day/nighter at The Oval on Wednesday. AFP