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Australia re-open English scars

Eoin Morgan plays the reverse sweep Getty Images

Australia hope they have re-opened the scars of last summer's English misery down under with a comfortable opening triangular series victory at the SCG, and the tourists' new captain Eoin Morgan certainly sounded disconsolate after his century served only to lessen the margin of defeat.

Morgan might have expected better, following a pair of rollicking wins in England's two warm-up matches, but a pair of Mitchell Starc inswingers had them two down in the space of the first three balls. Further wickets exacerbated the damage, and Morgan was left to do a salvage job that proved inadequate in the face of David Warner's own hundred.

Starc left little doubt about Australia's hope that the result had England's players thinking "here we go again". "Hopefully it reopened a few scars tonight," Starc said. "They're going to have to be out here for a few months now with this tri-series and the World Cup so there is no better way to kick off our campaign than getting one above them tonight. We had a great summer last year against them and carried that on again tonight."

Morgan gave very much that impression when he took little solace at all from his own return to batting touch. He admitted that the confidence built up during the team's preparation had been damaged by their failure to make the sort of start required to keep the Australian bowlers and fieldsmen from taking on a predatory posture at the same venue the Test side wrapped up last summer's Ashes whitewash.

"Overall really disappointed," Morgan said. "Simply because we came into the game with a lot of good preparation under our belt and again, within the side, we would have had a lot of expectation on ourselves, so we have a lot of disappointed guys in the change room. But we're going to have to dust ourselves off and come back in four days. There are certain positives we can take from the game but ultimately being four down so early has cost us.

"We could easily have been two down and gone on and posted a par or above par score, but continuing to lose wickets like we did put us in a bad position. I think the wicket was a little bit stoppy, but nothing we can't deal with or adapt to. I think the overall disappointment is what I'm talking about. There are no specifics, it's simply we weren't good enough today to adapt to the wicket and play accordingly."

Morgan suggested that Australia's late fade in chasing 235 for victory only heightened his frustration, because it underlined how an extra 30 or so runs would have increased the degree of difficulty on a surface that was slowing notably.

"I wouldn't say they beat us well, they were seven down," he said. "I think if we had 30 more on the board it would have made things a bit interesting. But again still not a winning score. In order for us to win today we'd have had to rely on an outstanding bowling performance."

England's bowling was presentable rather than fiery, but they should be helped, by the time of their next match against India in Brisbane on Tuesday, by the return of James Anderson, who was not considered for the SCG due to a minor injury.

"Jimmy's likely to play next week." Morgan said. "We have four days and three days of training before then.

"Providing he improves throughout the week he'll be more than likely fit for selection. I'm not 100% sure on his injury to be honest but he is crucial to our bowling line-up. He's our most experienced bowler, he's highly likely to take wickets early because of the amount of swing he gets and he's great to have in the team."

The early wickets of Ian Bell, James Taylor, Joe Root and Moeen Ali left Morgan to play a doughty innings, relocating the batting rhythm he has found in Australia before. "I'd like to know the answer because then I could find a solution," Morgan said when asked why his form had suddenly returned. "I've worked really hard and gone around in a couple of circles since this time last year."

England must hope that the circles Morgan speaks of will not apply to them for the remainder of this trip. Otherwise it will be the long one that Starc suggested.