orld champions England claimed an astonishing 24-run victory as Australia crumbled in the second one-day international at Emirates Old Trafford.
Chasing 232 to win the series, Australia were cruising at 144-2 before Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer induced a collapse of four wickets for three runs in 21 balls.
A reeling Australia lost their final eight wickets for 63 runs as they were bowled out for 207, despite a valiant last-wicket partnership of 31 between Alex Carey and Josh Hazlewood.
England earlier collapsed to 149-8, with leg-spinner Adam Zampa taking 3-36 before Adil Rashid and Tom Curran pushed them to 231-9.
Captain Eoin Morgan said he wanted his side to learn how to “win ugly” and will be pleased with how they dragged themselves back into the game.
Archer was as hostile as he has been for England, disrupting the opening batsmen first up before returning to the attack with Woakes and triggering a collapse.
As good as England were, this was an almost unbelievable collapse from Australia, who gifted wickets with poor shots, no foot movement and a generally bewildered air.
England now have a chance to keep their five-year unbeaten run in home one-day series in the final match of the series at the same ground on Wednesday.
A remarkable collapse
When Archer and Woakes returned to the attack, with Marnus Labuschagne and Aaron Finch sharing a 107-run stand, it felt like the game was over.
However, the two stifled the run-rate before Woakes trapped Labuschagne lbw, and six balls later Mitchell Marsh chopped Archer on to his stumps.
When captain Finch, who had led the way with 73, was bowled by Woakes in the next over, England upped their intensity, and it paid off as Glenn Maxwell played a wild slog and was bowled.
It was the speed with which the collapse happened that was so surprising, with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc falling to consecutive Sam Curran deliveries as the left-armer used all his variations.
Australia had this match within their grasp and, for the second time on this tour, they let it slip.
Australia created their own downfall, as the partnership between Finch and Labuschagne had highlighted England’s struggle to take middle-order wickets – a skill that Liam Plunkett led the way in for so long.
Rashid could not find the right length on a pitch that offered some turn, while the Curran brothers, replacing Moeen Ali and Mark Wood, could not make the breakthrough.
Finch and Labuschagne countered a tricky pitch with aggression and calm running, although Finch was dropped on 58 by Rashid in his follow-through.
But Australia twice had the chance to close this match out, the first coming with the ball when they failed to clean up England’s tail, and secondly as they cruised past the halfway stage with the bat.
They will hope that Steve Smith, who again missed this match as a precaution following a blow to the head in the nets on Friday, will return to offer some stability to a slightly fragile line-up.
Rashid and Curran spare batsmen’s blushes
This was a far from vintage performance with the bat by England, who were suffocated by Australia’s bowlers.
Root epitomised the struggles. He was hit three times by the pace bowlers – at one point requiring treatment after a blow to the knee from Starc – and in his desperation to rotate the strike, ran out Jason Roy via a superb throw from Marcus Stoinis at cover.
Despite looking uncomfortable, Root and Morgan guided England to 90-2, Root just beginning to cut loose with back-to-back boundaries before he edged Zampa to slip in his first over.
With the run-rate going nowhere, wickets fell regularly. Jos Buttler was trapped lbw by Pat Cummins, Morgan fell in similar fashion to Zampa, Sam Billings chopped the leg-spinner on to his stumps and Sam Curran edged Starc behind.
Chris Woakes played a handy cameo but it was Rashid and Tom Curran who helped England finish strongly.
The final six overs went for 67 runs, including 18 off the otherwise excellent Cummins. Rashid slapped Cummins over deep mid-wicket for just the second six of England’s innings as the two shared a 72-run stand.
Australia were clearly frustrated as they left the field, but that was nothing compared to how they will feel after the batting performance that was to follow.
‘England never know when they are beaten’ – what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan on BBC Test Match Special: “It was an outstanding win – not from nowhere but having the bowlers execute plans as well as we did, particularly when Australia started to gather momentum in the Aaron Finch and Marnus Labuschagne partnership.
“Once we broke into partnerships it was very tough for batsmen to come in and get going. That was certainly the case when we were batting.”
On his decision to bowl Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes out early: “The game was getting away from us – there was no point Jofra having two or three overs left, and the same with Chris Woakes, if Australia are going to chase it down in the 42nd over. We went all in and the plan was to bowl Australia out.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch: “At the end of the day England were just too good. England scored 81 runs in the last 10 overs, which wasn’t ideal.
“It was getting more difficult as the match went on but that’s no excuse for the collapse. It probably wasn’t the greatest viewer match but it was good to see an equal match between bat and ball.”
England bowler Chris Woakes: “It’s great to have someone like Jofra Archer in your team because when you’re up against it you can give him the ball and you get that little bit of X-factor from him, which is brilliant.”
Ex-England spinner Phil Tufnell on TMS: “England never know when they are beaten. They always feel like they can drag it out of the fire.”