England crush Ashes rivals to begin Champions Trophy campaign

EDGBASTON: Bell top-scores with 91.

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Australia captain George Bailey wipes his sweat while England celebrate Adam Voges' wicket. (Reuters)

Ian Bell starred as England drew first blood in a marathon sequence of matches against Australia with a 48-run victory over the title-holders in their Champions Trophy opener at Edgbaston on Saturday.

Bell made 91 on his Warwickshire home ground, to the delight of a capacity 25,000 crowd, as England posted 269 for six after captain Alastair Cook won the toss.

Bell also shared a second-wicket stand of 111 with county colleague Jonathan Trott (43) in the first of at least 26 matches, including the upcoming Ashes series in England, across all formats against arch-rivals Australia between now and February 2.

Australia pegged England back before an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 56 between Ravi Bopara (46 not out) and Tim Bresnan (19 not out) bolstered England's total.

However, a target of 270 proved beyond an Australia side still without captain Michael Clarke, following the recurrence of the star batsman's longstanding back injury.

Bell top-scored with 91.During Australia's 221 for nine, spearhead seamer James Anderson (three for 30) became England's outright most successful one-day international (ODI) bowler, taking the one wicket he needed to surpass the record of 234 wickets he'd shared with Darren Gough.

Australia stand-in skipper George Bailey made 55 as they at least put the embarrassment of their 65 all out in Tuesday's warm-up defeat by India behind them.

However, this loss left Australia -- bidding for a third straight Champions Trophy title -- with a mountain to climb if they were to qualify for the semi-finals out of a Group A also featuring New Zealand and Sri Lanka, who meet in Cardiff on Sunday.

Australia's reply suffered an early setback when David Warner (nine) was well caught by diving wicket-keeper Jos Buttler off Stuart Broad.

Shane Watson (24) fell next, caught by Cook at gully off Tim Bresnan.

Phillip Hughes was missed twice by England but couldn't make them pay, exiting for 30 when lbw to part-time spinner Joe Root after heaving across the line.

Mitchell Marsh became Anderson's record-breaking victim, caught at backward point by Eoin Morgan.

Anderson then made it two wickets for two runs in six balls when Matthew Wade was caught behind.

Bailey pressed on to a 62-ball fifty but when he holed out off spinner James Tredwell, Australia were all but beaten at 151 for seven.

James Faulkner finished on 54 not out but his runs came too late to change the course of the match.

Earlier, there was a flare-up when Australia wicket-keeper Wade thought Trott had impeded him as he tried to gather a wayward return.

Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena intervened to calm the situation.

Much later, Trott was caught behind by Wade after chasing a wide ball from left-arm quick Mitchell Starc.

Bell had made just three hundreds in his previous 130 ODIs.

And the 31-year-old was denied a fourth when bowled by left-arm paceman Faulkner.

In Group B, India have already beaten South Africa and West Indies have defeated Pakistan.

The top two teams from each group will go through to the semi-finals, with the final at Edgbaston on June 23.

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