Australian allrounder Shane Watson’s game-breaking feats ended in heartbreak as England pinched a dramatic one wicket win on the last ball of the Twenty20 game at Adelaide Oval.
Scores were tied with one ball remaining, but tailender Chris Woakes capped a dream international debut by striking the winning single.
Woakes’ run enabled the tourists to set a world record of eight consecutive T20 wins.
Their victory overcame a herculean performance from Shane Watson, who blasted 59 from 31 balls as Australia posted 4-157 from their 20 overs. The tourists finished at 9-158.
Watson then claimed 4-15 from his four overs – but was left dejected when his final ball, the last of the match, conceded the winning run.
Watson had turned the tide with a defining spell of seam bowling, capturing three wickets in an eight ball spell which stopped England’s run chase in its tracks.
But Australian paceman Brett Lee’s penultimate over cost 11 runs, leaving Watson to bowl the last with England needing just four runs to win with two wickets remaining.
Watson bowled Graeme Swann with his first ball, then delivered two dot balls before a leg bye was conceded, then another scoreless delivery.
Woakes, in his first international match for England, chipped the final ball over wide mid-on for the match winning single.
The run enabled England to surpass the previous T20 world best sequences of Pakistan and South Africa.
England’s Dublin-born batsman Eoin Morgan was another hero, playing his first genuine innings since arriving in Australia two-and-a-half months ago.
Morgan hammered 43 from 33 deliveries, a remarkable innings, given he had faced just 16 balls since landing here in November – and all were in meaningless tour matches.
But his composed knock, and some early blasting by Ian Bell (27 off 18 balls) and Kevin Pietersen (25 off 11 deliveries), was enough to steer England to a 1-0 lead in the two-match series that concludes in Melbourne on Friday.
Australian captain Cameron White said his first outing as T20 skipper was testing.
“It was an interesting first night for me, I guess, and the team,” White said.
“It just seems to be the way it’s rolling at the moment.
“It’s up to us in Melbourne to try and turn that around.”
England captain Paul Collingwood said achieving the world record streak of eight consecutive wins was a “huge achievement”.
“Eight wins (in a row) in this form of the game is very special,” he said.
“It was a great game of cricket, it had everything.
“I thought we probably should have seen it through a little bit easier, but Twenty20 cricket can get a little bit like that towards the end.
“I’m delighted with the win.”