London: Mitchell Johnson took three wickets as Australia edged England by four runs in the first of seven One-Day Internationals at the Oval on Friday.
England, needing 13 off the last over from Nathan Bracken to reach their victory target of 261, saw Adil Rashid miss the first ball after Australia had flirted with a six-run penalty by almost failing to bowl their overs in time.
Rashid pulled the next for four before taking a single.
But Ryan Sidebottom missed the next ball and took two off the next.
That meant the left-hander had to hit six off the last ball but instead he could only manage a single as England finished on 256 for eight under the Oval floodlights.
Rashid, whose 10 overs of leg-spin cost just 37 runs, was 31 not out off 23 balls with four fours,
Left-arm quick Johnson, who finished with figures of three wickets for 24 runs, took three for five in 13 balls as England suffered a middle-order slump
Owais Shah was keeping England on course with 40 off 48-balls until he was unluckily out hit wicket, his back foot dislodging a bail as he faced Johnson, to leave England 161 for four in the 38th over.
Luke Wright tried to rescue the situation with 38 off 27 balls, including a six and four fours, before he was run out by wicketkeeper Tim Paine off a Brett Lee no-ball.
Together with Rashid he put on 46 off 34 balls but his exit left England 224 for seven in the 47th over.
England, after Paul Collingwood had been brilliantly caught by a leaping Shane Watson at mid-wicket off Johnson, needed 93 off the last 10 overs and next ball Wright lofted Watson straight for the match's only six.
Earlier, man-of-the-match Callum Ferguson's career-best 71 was the centrepiece of Australia's 260 for five.
Ferguson surpassed his previous best of 63 against South Africa at Cape Town in April, during a composed 75-ball innings featuring five fours, while Cameron White made 53 before he was run out.
It was two of England's slower bowlers who checked Australia's progress after the world champions started briskly against the quicks.
Rashid and medium-pacer Collingwood, who took two for 47, applied a break after England's Ashes-winning captain Andrew Strauss won the toss.
England, in reply, suffered a setback when fast bowler Lee dismissed Strauss for 12 with the aid of a sharp slip catch by White.
However, Ravi Bopara - who'd averaged just 15 in the Ashes before being dropped for England's series clinching 197-run win here at the Oval last month - steadied the innings.
Together with Matt Prior (28) he put on 61 before the wicketkeeper reverse-swept off-spinner Nathan Hauritz to Johnson at short third man.
Hauritz then dismissed Bopara one short of a fifty when he had him stumped by Paine.
After Paine was run out for nought by Collingwood, Watson (46) and White compiled a 56-ball fifty stand.
Collingwood separated the duo when Watson's leading edge gave him a gentle return catch.
Clarke, captain in the absence of the resting Ricky Ponting, and Ferguson shared a stand of 79 off 109 balls.
But Clarke exited for 45 when he sliced a drive off Collingwood to Shah at cover, in an unusually subdued 72 balls with just three boundaries to leave Australia 190 for four.
Australia though still managed to score 82 runs in the last 10 overs.
The second match of this series takes place at Lord's on Sunday.
Australia: Australia 260 for 5 (Ferguson 71*, Collingwood 2-47)
England: 256 for 8 (Bopara 49, Shah 40, Johnson 3-24)
Result: Australia won by 4 runs
Man of the Match: CJ Ferguson (Australia)
Series status: Australia lead 7-match series by 1-0