Against a backdrop of blackmail plots involving their new captain Eoin Morgan, England succumbed to another ODI defeat to Australia in their latest tri-series ODI match Down Under in Hobart today. While the result on the field was not encouraging, but at least far better than their first match thrashing to the same nation, there was plenty of discussion about Morgan being the centre of a five-figure blackmail sting following an alleged relationship off the field.

Although the visitors' skipper denied that the potential distractions that have surrounded him in recent days had an impact on his captaincy during the defeat, he missed out during England's batting innings himself with a duck.

With the blackmail rumours having being handled by the England and Wales Cricket Board in consultation with the police, after an alleged relationship with an Australian woman back in 2010 surfaced, it is now believed to have been resolved satisfactorily.

On the field, England were hoping to build on their crushing victory over India in their last match, but were instead undone by a century from the Aussie captain Steve Smith. His calculated 102 not out innings guided the hosts to their challenging target of 304 with just a ball to go for an entertaining three-wicket victory.

It had all looked so promising earlier, as Ian Bell became England's highest ODI run-scorer of all-time with a magnificent 141, ably backed up by Moeen Ali's 46 and Joe Root's 69.

Their bowlers could not quite contain the Aussies though as both Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson failed for once to take any wickets.

Victory over England has clinched the hosts' place in the tri-series finale a match early, with England still battling it out for the second final place when they challenge India again on 30th January.

Elsewhere in the Southern hemisphere, New Zealand pair Luke Ronchi and Grant Elliott have established new ODI-best figures for the sixth-wicket, after their partnership of 267 against Sri Lanka in Dunedin. Ronchi scored a sizzling undefeated 170 off just 99 balls, while Elliott's contribution to the impressive 360-5 total was 104. Their side took the match convincingly as well by 108 runs to lead the seven-match series 3-1 with two matches still to play.