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Moeen Ali returned to form as England inflicted a 169-run defeat on Hong Kong in their one-day warm-up match in Abu Dhabi.
There were heartening runs for all the right people as Eoin Morgan's team, batting first by prior arrangement, began their limited-overs campaign here by setting their associate opponents 342 for eight.
Then after David Willey (four for 43) struck twice with the new ball to see off both Hong Kong openers, the team ranked 15th in the world - to England's sixth - were unable to launch a credible chase.
There was nonetheless some fine batting from Babar Hayat (78) in an eventual total of 173 all out in 43 overs.
Moeen (71), Alex Hales (64) and Jos Buttler (38) all needed confidence-boosting runs after their various recent travails - and it was a case of mission accomplished for each of them.
England bowler Mark Wood will miss the one-day international and Twenty20 series against Pakistan after returning home for treatment on his left ankle.
The Durham paceman missed the third and final Test in the United Arab Emirates, which England lost by 127 runs as Pakistan took the series 2-0.
He will now visit a specialist back in England and has been replaced in the limited-overs squads by Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett.
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England brought in Liam Plunkett in place of the rested Mark Wood for the second Royal London Series match against Australia at Lord's.
The like-for-like switch of seamers was England's only change as they seek to level up the series score at 1-1.
England captain Eoin Morgan unsurprisingly chose to bowl first under cloud cover, in a match delayed by an hour and shortened by one over per side to 49 each after morning drizzle.
Australia were unchanged after their opening win in Southampton.
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