Tom Curran held his nerve to dart in a splendid final over as England beat Australia in a dramatic last-ball thriller to go one up in the three-match T20I series.
Australia, playing their first competitive game following a long hiatus enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, were cruising towards the 163-run target at a canter due to the breezy progress made by David Warner and Aaron Finch at the top.
But the loss of the openers was followed by Steve Smith’s exit, that in turn sparked a mighty collapse resulting in Australia losing four wickets for just nine runs.
Chris Jordan brought all his experience to the fore by bowling a superb penultimate over conceding just four runs that further piled the pressure on the wobbly Australian lower middle-order.
The equation then came down to 15 off six balls but Marcus Stoinis’ wild swings at length and fuller deliveries from Curran didn’t yield the desired results.
Stoinis managed to connect one powerful six over cover but couldn’t hit the last ball for either a six or a four that would have tied the scores and taken the match into a Super Over.
Finch was in majestic touch during his blazing stay at the crease as he got going with a pulled four off express fast bowler Jofra Archer.
On a ground where he made 156 in a Twenty20 international against England in 2013, Finch struck leg-spinner Adil Rashid for 14 runs in three balls with a huge straight six heaved high over long-on followed by two exquisite drives to the boundary fence.
England didn't take a wicket until the 11th over when Finch was unable to clear Jordan at mid-off after lofting Archer.
Rashid then gave England hope with two wickets in five balls, having Smith (18) caught in the deep before all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (one) slapped him straight to home captain Eoin Morgan at short extra-cover.
And Archer then bowled Warner off his pads to end the left-hander's 47-ball innings featuring four fours.
Australia now had two new batsmen on nought and Alex Carey had made just one when he was bowled by fast bowler Mark Wood -- one of three 50-over World Cup winners recalled by England, along with Jos Buttler and Archer, following the drawn T20 series against Pakistan.
Earlier, Australia held England to 162-7 after Finch won the toss.
Kane Richardson took 2-13 from three overs and occasional off-spinner Glenn Maxwell 2-14 from his three.
England were on course for a large total while opener Buttler was making 44.
But Dawid Malan's 66 – the left-hander's eighth score of fifty or more in just 14 T20 international innings – was the only other contribution of note.
Maxwell removed dangerman Morgan for just five when he skyed Maxwell and Smith, running round from long-on, held a good catch under the Ageas Bowl floodlights. Malan completed a 37-ball fifty before he holed out off Richardson.