Cricket World Cup report: ruthless Australia expose England flaws

Australia opener Aaron Finch (facing) celebrates his century against England. Credit: AAP Image/Julian Smith

England fell to a crushing 111-run defeat to Australia to begin their Cricket World Cup campaign in Melbourne in dismal fashion.

England were made to pay for dropping centurion Aaron Finch in the first over of the game, and before he had scored, as a side with seven World Cup debutants were powerfully cast aside in front of 84,336 fans at the MCG.

Australia plundered 342 for nine - the highest score England had ever conceded at a World Cup - and the reply could only muster 231 in 41.5 overs.

To add to England's woes, out-of-sorts skipper Eoin Morgan made his third successive duck against Australia – he has now managed just two runs from his past five innings.

James Taylor offered a ray of light with an unbeaten 98 and Steven Finn claimed a hat-trick from the final three balls of Australia's innings, but those feats were overshadowed on this Valentine's Day massacre. All-rounder Mitchell Marsh did most of the damage with a career-best five for 33.

With an equally-difficult looking clash with the other tournament co-hosts New Zealand next up in Wellington, England will have plenty to ponder.

Most significantly Morgan's men will now head across the Tasman Sea unsafe in the knowledge that there is a clear gap between them and the tournament favourites.

After the match, England captain Eoin Morgan urged his team-mates to "stand up" to the next World Cup challenge of in-form New Zealand.

Morgan told Sky Sports: "They'll probably be the toughest two games of the group stage and we know they're a good test of where we're at.

"If we keep testing ourselves against the best sides and learning as the tour progresses, hopefully we'll hit our straps come the quarter-finals.

"But I think the senior players have got to stand up, myself included, and lead the way from the front."