England fell to a 49-run defeat as Shane Watson's mighty 143 proved too much for them at the Ageas Bowl, and gave Australia some consolation silverware at last this summer.
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Michael Clarke's team comfortably defended 298 all out under lights to take the NatWest Series 2-1 and perhaps soothe their Ashes and Champions Trophy disappointments on the long flight home.
They will be able to re-engage hostilities in the Ashes rematch in Brisbane with a notable win behind them, albeit not the one most coveted by themselves and England.
After Watson and Clarke (76) had ensured a par score on a quick and true pitch, England's attempt at a ground-record run chase featured two costly run-outs - starting with another mix-up between openers Michael Carberry and Kevin Pietersen.
This time, unlike in the rain-wrecked match at Edgbaston last week, Pietersen was the fall guy - and then despite a 92-run stand between Ravi Bopara (62) and Jos Buttler, England could not get competitive on the way to 249 all out in 48 overs.
Watson and Clarke's innings were on a different plane from what surrounded them in another often patchy Australia batting performance as Ben Stokes finished with a maiden one-day international five-wicket haul.
After Pietersen then went for a first-ball duck, however, England's task was suddenly that much harder.
Called for a sharp single even before he could get his bearings after a loud appeal for lbw from Clint McKay, Pietersen was unable to beat Fawad Ahmed's throw from short fine-leg.
Carberry helped Joe Root briefly re-establish England's composure until he was second out, lbw to James Faulkner (three for 38) after a DRS overturn.
Root ultimately could not cope with the once more very impressive Mitchell Johnson's express pace, and inside-edged a wide yorker-length ball on to his stumps.
Luke Wright became England's second run-out victim, also for a duck, responding to a call from Eoin Morgan, and then the captain himself was stumped as Adam Voges floated the ball a little wider.
Bopara needed DRS on five to reverse an lbw decision, Hawk-Eye tracking the ball from Voges to miss leg stump.
But when Buttler and he both went in powerplay, respectively bowled by Faulkner's change of angle and well caught at extra-cover off Johnson, England had left Stokes too much to do with the tail.
Their bowlers were earlier unable to contain Watson and Clarke during a brutal stand of 163 in 22 overs, after Stokes (five for 61) reduced the tourists to 48 for three with two wickets in two balls.
Watson hit 12 fours and six sixes from 107 balls, including 26 in boundaries off Root's final over.
He and Clarke had already hit James Tredwell out of the attack again, and it was only when the Australia captain fell to debutant Chris Jordan (three for 51) that England began to drag back control.
Jordan, taking the new ball in the injured Steven Finn's absence, began by making short work of opener Phil Hughes.
The left-hander was tucked up by extra bounce and succeeded only in lobbing a faulty pull into the leg-side ring.
Aaron Finch, on the ground where he smashed a Twenty20 world-record 156 last month, was undeterred alongside Watson.
A half-hour break for a passing shower did them no favours, however.
Finch smeared a catch straight to Morgan at point from Stokes' first ball after the resumption, and Matthew Wade made a golden duck when he gloved an attempted pull behind.
Clarke, cleared to play despite another scare with his chronic back injury, and Watson eschewed a rebuilding process in favour of all-out counter-attack.
Among a stream of boundaries, 10 fours and a six belonged to Clarke in his run-a-ball stay which eventually foundered on a mistimed big hit at Jordan which only went as far as mid-off.
Then Root, bowling his off-spin round the wicket in place of Tredwell, got George Bailey cheaply - over-balancing as he missed a sweep and stumped by Buttler.
Watson and Clarke had set an ominous platform, yet Australia were to make only 96 for seven in the scheduled last 20 overs.
It was the returning Stokes who did the most damage, adding two wickets in three balls to his earlier two-in-two.
First, he had Voges caught-behind with some extra bounce outside off stump; then in the 45th over, Watson edged behind too as he went for another big hit, and Johnson poked back a return catch.
In the end, it was as much as Australia could do to limp towards 300 as Buttler finished with five victims and England's new guard of Stokes, Jordan and the economical Boyd Rankin demonstrated encouraging resilience - ultimately, however, to no avail.