Smith, Starc star as Aussies claim series

Steve Smith sounded another ominous warning and Mitchell Starc sent a message with the ball as Australia secured an ODI series win over England with a 72-run victory at the SCG.

On the same day Josh Hazlewood became Australia's 28th ODI captain filling in for the rested Pat Cummins, Smith hit 94 from 114 balls to set up Australia's 8-280.

Starc (4-47) then struck twice in the first over of England's innings, proving he is still one of the world's best white-ball bowlers after being handed the new Kookaburra.

And while James Vince (60) and Sam Billings (71) put the visitors back in the chase, Adam Zampa (4-45) and Starc killed off any chance of an England win to have them all out for 208.

Starc's output came after he was controversially dropped for Australia's last group game in the Twenty20 World Cup against Afghanistan, after losing the new ball earlier in the tournament.

The left-armer bowled with fire at the SCG and swung the ball early, getting Jason Roy caught behind down the legside before beating Dawid Malan's edge to take off stump in the first over with a pearler.

"It was least expected, there was no swing from anyone else throughout the whole game really," Hazlewood said.

"To bowl a first over like that.

"Obviously Roy, a bit unlucky.

"But we've been struggling to get Malan out through the summer so far. To see the back of him was nice. There were some beauties there."

Zampa also looked good, first bowling Moeen Ali and then going through a charging Billings to help seal the series with a match to play.

The triumph comes as a significant confident boost for Australia's white-ball side ahead of next year's 50-over World Cup, after the most recent Twenty20 demise.

Beyond Starc's lethal bowling, it will be Smith's outing that will excite Australia most.

After declaring he felt the best he had in six years in the series opener on Thursday night in Adelaide, Smith looked measured and controlled again on Saturday.

He barely gave a chance until he was dismissed in the deep, with his altered grip and less movement at the crease syncing up the movement between his hands and feet.

He worked the ball nicely through the legside throughout, and at one stage hoiked Sam Curran over square leg for six.

But his best shot was a perfect cover drive off Moeen, exemplifying the kind of shot Smith believes he is playing better with the technical changes.

Smith now has scores of 61, 105, 80no and 94 in his past four ODIs, with one more hit to come in Melbourne on Tuesday before the first Test against West Indies starting November 30.

Smith's latest innings also formed part of a 101-run partnership with Marnus Labuschagne, whose 58 marked a return to form after a recent lean run for Queensland.

Mitch Marsh then hit an even 50 to help Australia to a competitive score, after Adil Rashid (3-57) threatened to give England control when he had Labuschagne and Alex Carey (0) out sweeping in consecutive balls.