Buttler guides England to victory
Young gun Jos Buttler guided England to a three-wicket victory as they levelled the NatWest Series at 1-1 with one to play, despite Clint McKay's Cardiff hat-trick.
The hosts were eight for three in pursuit of 227 all out after McKay had taken the wickets of Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root in his second over.
But Michael Carberry's 63, a maiden international 50 in a century stand with Eoin Morgan (53), helped to get England within range.
Then even after another three wickets fell for 32, Buttler (65no) and Ben Stokes' skilful stand of 75 put them on the brink - and the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman finished the job with three balls to spare after a six and four in the final over off Mitchell Johnson.
Buttler was reprieved lbw on eight when DRS showed the ball from Shane Watson going on to miss leg-stump, and Stokes perhaps got a glove behind on an attempted hook at Johnson but was given not out by Sundaram Ravi on nine.
There was still drama left, after McKay (four for 39) returned to bowl Stokes with a change of pace.
But Buttler kept his cool between two late run-out scares to make his second consecutive half-century, from just 41 balls, count as he finished with five fours and two sixes.
England's was a patchy innings, as had been Australia's - apart from another fine hand from George Bailey (87) - and the outcome was a far cry from the start of their chase.
Pietersen fell lbw aiming across the line; out-of-form Trott pushed out at a full and wide ball and was caught head-high at second slip, and Root edged an attempted drive to first.
On a surprisingly pacy but not entirely reliable surface, Morgan and Carberry's rebuilding was measured at first.
The captain targeted McKay in his second spell, with three boundaries in an over which cost 15.
But having followed Carberry to his 50, at a slightly slower 91-ball tempo, he tried to sneak off-side runs off Watson and instead edged on to his stumps.
Carberry then went too far across and was bowled round his legs by debutant seamer Nathan Coulter-Nile - and after Ravi Bopara's tortured seven off 19 balls ended when he was lbw to James Faulkner, it was all down to Buttler and Stokes.
Australia had earlier stumbled to 11 for two, then 57 for four against England's seamers - and also lost their last five wickets for 18 runs as James Tredwell (three for 53) got his revenge for earlier punishment.
Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin did not squander their early opportunity to bowl on a pitch which spent much of the previous day and overnight under full cover with heavy rain falling.
In bright conditions, after Morgan won the toss, Finn began with a tame wide but immediately made up for it with the day's first legitimate delivery - full, straight and swinging in just enough to beat Aaron Finch's drive and send him back lbw for nought.
Rankin was on target from the outset and got his reward when Watson's drive at a delivery which was not quite full enough resulted in an edge behind.
The first over of back-up medium-pace from Stokes cost 10 runs, but England's first-change soon repaid Morgan's faith with the wicket of Shaun Marsh.
Bowling with enough pace to beat the left-hander's attempted pull, he had his first international wicket - in his 13th limited-overs match - when Buttler held an athletic catch high above his head off the glove.
Finn got rid of Michael Clarke, who went to DRS to try to reverse an lbw on the back foot only to discover Hawk-eye simulation depicted the ball just clipping the top of the leg bail.
Bailey and Adam Voges shared 15 dot balls before a single got each off the mark, at the start of the first of two important half-century stands.
Bailey struck Tredwell three times for six over long-on, to go with a sweep for his solitary four in a 57-ball 50.
With Voges gone, bowled trying to pull Bopara, Bailey and Matthew Wade engaged in some chancy but effective running - several times turning apparent dots into ones and ones into twos, just.
That approach brought them 39 in an early batting powerplay, and at the start of the last 10 overs Australia were 195 for five.
The wickets column was still a worry for them, though - and so it proved.
Wade edged Tredwell to short third-man; Faulkner was run-out attempting a quick single - and after England's off-spinner deceived Johnson in back-foot defence, Bailey was ninth out caught-behind trying to angle the returning Rankin down to third-man.
In the end, the tame finish cost Australia dear.