TODAY |

England cricketers forced to search empty stands for ball after six in T20 thriller against Aussies

England showed they were willing to do anything to get a Twenty20 win over Australia this morning - even if it meant going into the empty Southampton stands to find the ball.

The hosts pulled off a stunning two-run win over Australia at the Rose Bowl this morning after the visitors collapsed in the their chase.

Dawid Malan's 66 runs from 43 deliveries carried England's innings as they were restricted to 162/7 in the opening game of the three-match series.

Malan's effort was helped by a cracking start from Jos Buttler, who scored 44 runs off 29 balls before he was removed. Only one other English batsman reached double figures.

Australia then appeared to be cruising to a victory, with the side reaching 124/1 after 14 overs before disaster struck.

The collapse started when Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell departed in quick and needless fashion during Adil Rashid's final over.

Smith turned two of England fielders into ball fetchers after he launched a massive six into the empty stands during his innings. But his confidence got the better of him and he soon holed out to Jonny Bairstow in the deep.

Maxwell added to the woes soon after when he slapped his second ball to England captain Eoin Morgan at cover.

Warner and Alex Carey were then bowled, by Jofra Archer and Mark Wood respectively, and Australia had lost four wickets for nine runs.

Marcus Stoinis tried to lead Australia home but the damage was done and they fell two runs short.

Australian opener David Warner, who scored 58 before he was bowled by Archer, said the side needs to bat smarter in the middle overs.

"We just have to try to be a little bit smarter and work out how we're going to hit our boundaries," Warner said.

"We have to try to keep rotating strike.

"They knocked us over quite comprehensively through the middle."