England had centurion Marcus Trescothick, Paul Collingwood and Lady Luck to thank on Thursday as they crushed Australia by nine wickets in the first match of their one-day series.
Everything went the home side's way as the world champions were restricted to 219 for seven, Collingwood taking four wickets with his medium-pacers.
The left-handed Trescothick then scored 104 not out as England won with four overs to spare. It was his 10th one-day hundred and his first against Australia.
England captain Michael Vaughan made 59 not out, reaching his half-century off 58 balls and hitting seven boundaries during an unbroken stand of 120 for the second wicket.
Ricky Ponting must have feared the worst from losing the toss. His wrong call allowed England to bowl when it was best to bowl at a murky Headingley and bat when the sun broke through.
The key moments also favoured them. Andrew Strauss was dropped behind early on in England's reply and next ball Trescothick, on five, was caught at third man off a no-ball and reprieved by the umpire on 81 after appearing to edge behind.
The pair kept their nerve to put on 101 before Strauss was caught behind off a reverse sweep for 41.
Trescothick reached three figures off 132 balls, hitting eight fours and a six. Vaughan's form was also a big plus. He produced a flashing cover drive off Glenn McGrath and two consecutive pulls off Jason Gillespie as well as a loft for four in his most convincing display of the season.
Gillespie, labouring for form, conceded 66 off 10 overs.
The game, the first of three one-dayers before the Ashes and which followed the teams' dramatic tie in the final of a triangular one-day series, saw the introduction of substitutions for the first time, as well as 20 overs of fielding restrictions rather than 15.
Headingley in the gloom has always favoured swing and seam. Thursday morning was played out under a thick blanket of cloud, to be replaced by blazing sun in the afternoon before the cloud returned in the final stages
The world champions, put in, enjoyed a 62-run opening stand but that was all.
Adam Gilchrist, having played and missed half-a-dozen times, adapted cleverly by replacing straight-bat shots with cross-bat pulls and shovels to leg. Simon Jones was pulled for six, as was Darren Gough.
But Gilchrist's good fortune ran out after he had made 42 off 51 balls as an attempted glance off Steve Harmison ended in Geraint Jones's gloves.
Matthew Hayden, never fluent, followed six runs later as a half-hearted pull off Andrew Flintoff found Kevin Pietersen at mid-wicket.
Ponting and Damien Martyn hauled the score to 107 before three more wickets fell for 13 runs, all to Collingwood. The batting all rounder, who became the first England player to take six wickets in a one-dayer last month against Bangladesh, revelled in the conditions.
Ponting mis-timed a pull and was caught for 14 by Pietersen in the deep. Andrew Symonds edged to the slips while Michael Clarke's expansive drive was beaten by a delivery nipping back through the gate.
If it had not been for the excellent Martyn and Hussey, things would have been even worse. Martyn made a hard-earned 43 before he was caught behind to make it 159 for six in the 42nd over while Hussey ended on 46 not out off 52 balls, hitting three consecutive fours off Flintoff in the penultimate over, then flat-batting Gough for six as 30 came off the last two overs.
The substitutions' rule also favoured England. They opted for a batsman in Vikram Solanki. If England had lost the toss he would probably not have got on the field but instead Vaughan was able to call on him to bolster the batting and fielding after Simon Jones had been bowled out after 31 overs of the Australian innings.
The second match is due to take place at Lord's on Sunday, with the third and final game at The Oval on Tuesday.