NatWest Series, Edgbaston:
Australia 261-9 v England 37-1
No result - rain
Rain played the starring role in the dress rehearsal for Saturday's NatWest Series final as the dead rubber between England and Australia was abandoned.
Set 262 to win, England were 37-1 after six overs with Andrew Strauss, who had hit four boundaries in one Glenn McGrath over, the man to fall.
England held Australia to 261-9, with Darren Gough (3-70) claiming three late wickets after a horrid beginning.
Andrew Symonds hit 74 off 75 balls, sharing 101 runs with Mike Hussey (45).
Australia got off to a flyer after winning the toss, with two Adam Gilchrist boundaries and four overthrows seeing the first over from Darren Gough leak 14 runs.
Gough's troubles saw him dragged off after two overs, but at the other end Simon Jones was operating in good style and soon had the measure of both openers.
Gilchrist edged behind and Matthew Hayden - after taking great exception to Jones striking him on the shoulder with a return shy at the stumps - was trapped lbw.
It was a cherished strike for Jones, who had apologised to Hayden but still received a mouthful for his actions. The batsman's reaction prompted Paul Collingwood to become involved, but the confrontation soon dissolved.
Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn, neither of whom have been in great touch lately, tried to rebuild but were held back by Jones at one end and Steve Harmison at the other.
The return of Gough released the pressure - eight runs were scored off the first over of his new spell - but just as the third-wicket pair looked settled Ponting nicked Andrew Flintoff to Geraint Jones for 34, one of five catches for the keeper.
A score of 95-3 in the 22nd over became 123-4 in the 28th when Harmison, back in the attack following one expensive over from Michael Vaughan, removed Martyn to a disputed catch in the deep.
Kevin Pietersen claimed the catch low down at third man, but the batsman stood his ground before being sent on his way by the umpires.
Television replays cast considerable doubt as to whether the ball was taken cleanly, but that mattered little and the strike gave England the initiative.
It was soon wrested away from them, however, with Ashley Giles bowling defensively and Symonds finding his feet quickly.
He and Mike Hussey added 101 runs in 15 hectic overs, Symonds celebrating his 15th one-day fifty with a six off Flintoff and Hussey taking the score past 200 with a boundary in the 40th over.
It left England vulnerable to a late-innings surge but five wickets fell for 30 runs, starting with Symonds' run out in the 42nd over which saw both batsmen wind up at the same end.
Gough, whose first six overs haemorrhaged 49 runs, returned for a fourth spell to oust Michael Clarke, Brad Hogg (both caught behind) and Jason Gillespie for single-figure scores.
Harmison (2-38) capped a thoroughly good showing with the wicket of Hussey, and only Brett Lee (21 not out off 18 balls) was able to get the ball away at the death.
Two chunks of three overs were possible in England's rain-marred reply.
They were 8-0 when the players first left the field (for about 100 minutes), set a revised target of 200 from 33 overs when they returned, and finally came off at 37-1 when the rain returned for good.
Strauss - and the crowd - at least managed some fun at McGrath's expense as three fours disappeared past point, but on what proved to be the last ball of the match he holed out at mid-on to the veteran paceman.
An abandonment was no way to end what had been a compelling contest, but the two teams can look forward to the match that really matters, at Lord's on Saturday.