ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss believes his side made too many errors as Shane Watson's unbeaten 161 condemned them to a six-wicket defeat in the first one-day international against Australia in Melbourne.
Watson's career-best innings guided Australia past England's 294 all out – their highest ever limited-overs score against the world champions on Australian soil.
But despite setting that record, Strauss said his side were made to pay for not posting a score in excess of 300.
The captain included himself in the blame for that failing after falling for 63 when well set, while fellow opener Steve Davies (43) and Ian Bell (23) got starts up the order.
The only other notable contributor thereafter was Kevin Pietersen's 78 – his first half century in more than two years – before he was dismissed by a freak run out when Mitchell Johnson kicked the ball onto the stumps in the first over of the batting powerplay.
"We had a platform to maybe get 310-320 but too many of our batsmen got out too softly," he said.
"A lot of us got off to good starts – myself, Davies and Bell – but we didn't have anyone who played the Shane Watson innings and that was the difference.
"I suppose Pietersen getting out in the first over of the powerplay hurt us.
"If we had 310-320 it would have been very difficult for them to chase.
"In the end it was one of the outstanding one-day innings from Shane Watson. It was a truly top-quality knock."
Watson offered only one chance during his unbeaten innings, the fifth highest by an Australia batsman in one-day cricket, when Jonathan Trott spilled a difficult chance running backwards from mid-off when he was on 44.
But Strauss did not point the finger at Trott for his side's inability to defend what was a record chase at the MCG, instead blaming a combination of mistakes.
"We didn't strike with the new ball, the spinners bowled well but we weren't able to squeeze as many wickets as we would have liked." he added.
"We had a couple of half-chances that might have gone to hand on a different night, but you can't take anything away from Watson. He deserved to be on the winning side. For us it's just a case of doing little things a bit better than we did today.
"You can't afford to make too many little mistakes in one-day cricket and we probably did that.
"There are things for us to work on but ultimately it was a great game of cricket."
Before the game England made the choice not to include the out-of-form Paul Collingwood in their team following his poor tour with the bat.
Strauss confirmed the 34-year-old had been omitted based on his barren recent return, but hinted that he would still be a part of the 15-man World Cup squad to be announced on Wednesday.
"We feel that he's been struggling with the bat for a while now and the best way for him to come back is to spend a little bit of time out of the side and refresh his mind," Strauss said.
"We'd like him to spend the next week or so clearing his mind; doing some work in the nets, but primarily clearing his mind and thinking how he wants to play his game.
"He is still a very important part of our one-day set-up and will be going forward in to the World Cup. We have a lot of batsmen in great nick at the moment.
"It's tough on him but it would have been tough on someone else to miss out."
In Collingwood's absence, Pietersen was given his chance back in the 50-over team after being dropped for the previous series against Pakistan in the summer.
Pietersen, arguably England's most dangerous player when in full flight, responded with his first half-century in 17 one-day innings.
"He showed his quality today," Strauss added.
"He's had a bit of a fallow period in one-day cricket but he showed his worth today."
DISPLAY OF THE DAY
The Australian opener batted through the innings with an unbeaten 161 to clinch victory for the hosts.