John Hastings and David Hussey steered Australia home - photo: Getty
David Hussey hit an unbeaten 68 as Australia beat England by four wickets in Sydney to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the one-day series.
The home side reached 215-6 with four overs to spare after another below-par batting effort by the tourists.
They lost Matt Prior to the fifth ball of the match and Andrew Strauss was run out for 23 by partner Jonathan Trott.
Brett Lee took 3-27 and although Trott tried to atone, he ran out of partners on 84 as England were all out for 214.
It was another below-par display from England, such a contrast from the Ashes Test series, which they won 3-1.
And while they could point to the absence of key players like Kevin Pietersen (groin), Tim Bresnan (calf muscle) and Graeme Swann (knee), a fourth successive 50-over defeat so close to a World Cup campaign is undoubtedly a cause for concern.
The decision to reinstate Matt Prior at the top of the order at the expense of Steven Davies is sure to come under further scrutiny after the Sussex wicketkeeper/batsman succumbed to his second successive duck.
England have tried 17 opening combinations since the last World Cup in 2007 and may need to find another before the first match of their 2011 campaign against the Netherlands in Nagpur on 22 February.
Lee, who was consistently over 90mph, swung two away before nipping one back to trap Prior bang in front on the back pad, the only question mark about the dismissal being why England chose to refer it.
John Hastings, in only his third one-day appearance, was brought on in the sixth over, but after coming down the wicket and taking consecutive fours off his medium pacers, England skipper Andrew Strauss departed following a disastrous run out.
Trott called for a single into the off-side but then stopped in mid-pitch before both he and his captain were both running towards the bowler's end and a replay was needed before the umpires could be certain it was Strauss who had to go.
England urgently needed a substantial partnership to revive the innings, but Ian Bell fell to Shane Watson, who took an outstanding diving return catch to his left, bringing in Eoin Morgan with 37 overs of the innings still to be bowled.
Collingwood's dismal form continued when he was out second ball
England's one-day lynchpin struggled to find his timing and only managed six singles from his opening 23 balls, but having battled his way to 30 and added 57 in 70 balls with Trott, he hit a long hop from Hussey to mid-wicket where Michael Clarke took a fine catch to his left.
Paul Collingwood, recalled to the side because of Pietersen's injury, looked completely out of sorts and having got an inside edge past the stumps first ball, he was rooted back in his crease to the next one from spinner Xavier Doherty which straightened, but the distance by which Collingwood missed it as the ball clipped the off pole was baffling.
The left-arm spinner, discarded in the Ashes series after two Tests in which his three wickets cost 306 runs, added the wicket of Michael Yardy who tamely chipped a return catch and finished with 2-37.
With wickets falling regularly the situation called for some bold shots from Trott, but he was unable to hit a boundary after the 20th over.
Indeed the lack of purpose in the innings was typified by last man Chris Tremlett who failed to ground his bat as he jogged through for a single and was run out by Hussey's direct hit.
In his more accustomed role with the ball, Tremlett gave England hope by nipping one back between the bat and pad of the dangerous Watson, who scored a stunning unbeaten 161 in the first match of this series, to bowl him for nine.
Australia's centurion from Friday's match at Hobart, Shaun Marsh, was then lbw playing across the line to Ajmal Shahzad from around the wicket, a decision confirmed after a referral.
Brad Haddin ensured the score ticked along, however, backing away to launch Tremlett over cover for the first six of the match as the Australian 50 came up in the 10th over.
The combative wicketkeeper was dropped on 37 by Tremlett low at mid-off in Luke Wright's first over but skipper Michael Clarke's lean spell continued when he clipped to mid-wicket to give debutant Chris Woakes a maiden one-day scalp.
Collingwood underlined his importance with the ball on slow surfaces, striking in each of his opening two overs and claiming the key wicket of Haddin (54), who lofted straight to long-on.
A stand of 63 in 15 overs between Hussey and Steve Smith looked to have taken the game out of England's reach, before Tremlett was brought back for a final burst.
His lifting delivery was sliced way up in the air by Smith with Yardy coming to in to claim the pressure catch by the stumps at the bowler's end.
But Hussey, running well between the wickets and reading the situation expertly in the manner of his brother Mike, reached his fifth one-day fifty with a pull for six from a Yardy full toss and an unbroken half-century partnership with Hastings secured victory, leaving England with much to ponder ahead of the next match at Adelaide on Wednesday.
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