England were battling to build a defendable total as Australia’s bowlers put the squeeze on in the third one-day international in Sydney.
The tourists were sent in for the first time in the series but found it tough going as Australia’s reunited attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood set the tone.
After 30 overs they had 149 for four, leaving captain Eoin Morgan (30no) and Jos Buttler (25no) in charge of upping the ante and pushing towards 300.
Jonny Bairstow had earlier made a pedestrian 39 on a slow surface, with Joe Root dismissed for the first time in the series dragging Hazlewood on for 27.
Root had earlier been presented with this 100th cap by rugby league star Sam Burgess.