England captain Andrew Strauss lamented a "very poor day" after his side relinquished a strong position for the second successive game against Australia to lose the second one-day international in Hobart by 46 runs.
England had looked in complete control of the match after their seamers reduced the hosts to 142-8 batting first on a tricky Bellerive Oval wicket.
But from then on England faltered, as Shaun Marsh combined with Doug Bollinger in an Australian record stand of 88 for the ninth wicket on his way to a match-winning 110 – the second one-day century of his career.
While Australia still only managed 230, England never truly threatened in their pursuit as they lost wickets at regular intervals, with Bollinger taking 4-28, to be bowled out for 184 in 45 overs.
The loss followed England's six-wicket opening-match defeat in Melbourne, when they failed to defend 294, and leaves them 2-0 down in the seven-match series.
"It was a very poor day, there's no doubt about it," Strauss said.
"The seam bowlers did a fantastic job and we were in a great position with them eight down, but that partnership between Marsh and Bollinger gave them some very important momentum heading into their bowling stint and it was a poor performance with the bat.
"When you are chasing that score you need one guy to get 80-odd and none of us did that. There were lots of 20s and 30s, too many early wickets and ultimately it wasn't good."
England's chase began terribly with Matt Prior making a duck on his return to the one-day arena at the expense of the ousted Steven Davies before Bollinger removed Strauss and Kevin Pietersen with consecutive balls to leave the tourists on 36-3.
Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott seemed to quell the initial threat with a 47-run stand, but crucially both batsmen were out to catches in the inner ring after making 32 apiece.
"A lot of us made poor decisions today. There were quite a few soft dismissals," added Strauss.
"The one thing I'd say is that we aren't in the business of handing out huge recriminations to our batsmen.
"We want to see them play positively, that's the most important thing for us.
"It's worked well for us in the past and the last thing we want to see is batsmen going into their shells.
"In that sense it won't be all doom and gloom, we just have to play smart cricket and we didn't do enough of that today."
Strauss denied that his side were struggling to lift themselves for the protracted series on the back of their historic Ashes success.
"I don't think so," he insisted. "It was just one of those poor days on a slow wicket which forces you to either play aggressively or you are going to build up a lot of dot balls.
"We are going to have to sit down and chat through it and make sure we don't make those mistakes again."
England twice allowed Australia to regain their composure with the bat after Strauss's decision to send them in, following morning rain, was immediately vindicated as the hosts slumped to 33-4.
But after picking only three front-line seamers, Strauss was then forced to turn to Jonathan Trott's part-timers alongside the reduced threat of spinners Michael Yardy and James Tredwell during the middle overs.
That set the stage for Marsh, who was only called up for the injured Mike Hussey, to bed in alongside Cameron White in a 100-run stand.
And while Australia then collapsed again to lose four wickets for only nine runs, the lack of extra firepower allowed Bollinger to hit 30, after his previous highest score in 27 one-dayers was just three, and partner Marsh en route to his decisive century.
"In hindsight we should probably have got the fourth seamer in our side, that was a mistake," added Strauss.
"The biggest regret is that Doug Bollinger got 30 and put on all those runs with Marsh. When you lose you have to learn from the mistakes and make sure you don't repeat them."
Strauss also conceded Marsh's century, which came off just 101 balls to belie the problems both sets of batsmen had with scoring quickly, was the game-changing innings.
"He played very well. He had a nice mix of getting ones and hitting boundaries," he said.
"He's a player in good form."Australia captain Michael Clarke praised the performance of Western Australian Marsh, who is only due to play in the next two games having been drafted in to replace Hussey after he underwent hamstring surgery following the first game.
Marsh was also overlooked for next month's World Cup, but Clarke admitted he would love to keep him in the side and hinted he would bat further up the order in tomorrow's third game in Sydney.
"If he bats like that he can stay as long as he likes," he said.
"It's unlikely he'll be batting at No 6 in the next few games, especially when he's hitting the ball as sweet as he is."
Clarke does not expect all-rounder Nathan Hauritz to take any further part in the seven-match one-day international series against England after suffering a dislocated shoulder.
Hauritz suffered the injury sliding to field a ball during England's chase and after leaving the ground was taken to hospital.
There is major concern over Hauritz's injury after he was the only specialist spinner selected in Australia's World Cup squad.
Clarke is confident he will be available for the tournament although the spinner will have to wait for the results of further scans today.
"Haury has a dislocation and he'll have scans to see how bad that is," Clarke said.
"I think more than likely he's going to struggle to take anymore part in this series.
"For this to happen now I feel for him. Hopefully he'll be right for the World Cup – he'll play a big part in that."