Alex Hales made a statement with a rapid 84

while quicks Mark Wood and Sam Curran thwarted

Australia's bold chase as England stepped up their T20 World Cup

preparations with a tight eight-run victory in the series opener in Perth.

In a record 132-run opening partnership for England against Australia,

, Hales and the returning Jos Buttler flattened a weakened attack to power the tourists to a huge total.

An aggressive Australia, who had dropped Steven Smith

were on pace with David Warner making his second consecutive half-century but England held their nerve through quality death bowling from Wood and Curran.

It was a return of international cricket in Perth since the women's T20 World Cup

after an easing of strict Covid-19 measures.

The final two games of the series will be played in Canberra starting on Wednesday.