England now face two must-win matches against New Zealand in Wellington and Hamilton next week to ensure they face the Aussies in the final for another opportunity to end the winter rivalry on a high.
Jason Roy, revisiting the scene of last month's record-breaking one-day 180, made 172 fewer on this occasion and nicked Billy Stanlake gently to Alex Carey.
'With England, if they can play well in that next game, all of a sudden they are a different team.
Australia, on the other hand, hold all the cards with key components of their batting and fast bowling cards firing simultaneously.
England have been in Australia since late October and although the T20I squad is vastly different from the Test players who started the tour, the Three Lions looked a bit tired in Melbourne.
Warner has now won 6 of 7 matches in-charge - limpidly the best mark in Australia's T20I history.
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Buttler had been the only England batsman to make a substantial score, but even he was at less than his best, a rare occasion when he scored below a run a ball. They also played the 3rd match of the tournament which was against Australia. Australia chased down the target in 14.3 overs, and have qualified for the final of the tri-series.
Suddenly, there is exhilaration and goodwill genuinely emerging within the Australian T20 team but they will have to finsih the job convincingly in New Zealand.
Duly reprieved, Lynn set about clobbering some trademark blows, cutting short balls over the off side field, swinging a leg-side delivery over the rope behind square leg, then arrowing a boundary to wide long-on.
For the second time in a row David Willey dismissed him in the first over, a hint of swing proving just enough to take the edge before nestling in Buttler's gloves. Mercurial all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has starred in all three games and feels like a missing link of the struggling ODI team after being overlooked for the bulk of the five-match series against England. The blitz took Australia past the finishing line with seven wickets and 33 balls to spare. He arrived when England had lost three wickets inside the first four overs, and nudged just above a run a ball early in his stay, but struggled to up the tempo against Ashton Agar, Marcus Stoinis and the slower-ball variations of AJ Tye. His run out of Malan who made just 10 runs was certainly far more impressive.
Sam Billings - 6/10 - Supporting Buttler as England rebuilt their innings, Billings added a very useful 29 runs in the latter overs.