England's cricketers lead Australia 2-0 in their five-match one-day series and started sizing up the touring side's No 1 ranking.
The hosts enjoyed a six-wicket victory at the Oval on Sunday and a series clean sweep will make England the top-ranked team in all formats.
The teams now move to Birmingham before closing with matches at Chester-le-Street and Manchester.
Shane Watson (66 off 80 balls) and George Bailey (65 off 86 balls) scored half centuries but Australia's innings got bogged in the middle and they posted 7-251 from 50 overs.
In reply, Ravi Bopara (82 from 85 balls) and Ian Bell (75 from 113 balls) guided the home side to victory with 4.2 overs to spare.
There was controversy in the 34th over of England's chase when TV umpire Aleem Dar overturned an lbw decision on Eoin Morgan (43no) despite there appearing to be little evidence of his hitting the ball.
Umpire Richard Illingworth ruled that part-time spinner Michael Clarke trapped the Irishman off his second ball to reduce England to 4-171.
Morgan instantly called for a review and, after several viewings of hot spot, Dar reversed the decision.
Aside from Watson and Bailey, England's bowling attack suffocated the tourists with only 40 runs earned between the 20th and 35th over.
Paceman Steve Finn (1-36 off nine overs) led the way before spinner Graeme Swann (1-27 off eight overs) and Bopara (1-16 off five overs) tied Australia in knots.
Just as in the 15-run loss in the series opener at Lord's, Australia started well but the runs dried up after reaching triple figures.
Watson threw away his wicket by lashing out at a Swann delivery and being caught in the deep.
Finn stalled Australia's late momentum with a brilliant side-on run out throw that removed David Hussey (29).
Bresnan removed Bailey and Matthew Wade (6) in the 47th over but Morgan had a torrid time in the dying overs, dropping Brett Lee (20no) and Mitchell Johnson (8no) in the deep.
In his first international in nine months, Johnson allowed England a flying start.
Three no balls in his opening two overs handed Alastair Cook (18) and Bell the chance to smack boundaries off free hits.
Clint McKay (1-42) trapped Cook in front and Watson bowled an over-ambitious Jonathan Trott (17) but Bell was handed a life on 70 with Warner grassing a tough chance at backward point.
The wicket would have seen Lee move clear of Glenn McGrath as the highest one-day wicket-taker for Australia.
Clarke brought himself on in the 34th over and had instant success, bowling Bell but was unlucky not to remove Morgan.
Bopara had a brain fade two runs short of the target and was run out by Lee.
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