| Andrew Flintoff powers his way to 87 against Australia in the second one-day International at Lordís on Sunday. (AFP)
London: Brett Lee ripped the heart out of the England batting and Ricky Ponting stroked a century as Australia cruised to a seven-wicket win to level their ODI series 1-1 at Lordís on Sunday.
Strike bowler Lee took five for 41, England struggling to 223 for eight, before the world champions jogged home with 34 balls to spare.
Ponting was back to his best after a run of poor scores to record his 18th ODI century, jumping with joy and waving his bat in the air after reaching the mark. He was dismissed just before the end for 111 off 115 balls, hitting one six and 14 fours. He and Damien Martyn put on 120 for the third wicket.
Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz, exploiting the early juice in the pitch after Australia won the toss, took three wickets for three runs in 18 balls to leave Michael Vaughanís men reeling on 28 for three in the 11th over.
Andrew Flintoff, with a well-crafted 87 full of powerful pulls to mid-wicket, and Paul Collingwood (34) saved face with a century stand for the fifth wicket as the conditions eased, but Australia never released their stranglehold.
Coach John Buchanan believes the English top order is technically suspect. It was hard to argue after Andrew Strauss, tucked up, chopped Kasprowiczís first ball on to his stumps, Vaughan went leg-before without offering a shot to McGrath and Marcus Trescothick inside-edged behind to give Kasprowicz early figures of 2-1-2-2.
Lee, used in four bursts, then removed Kevin Pietersen for 15 to make it 45 for four and Flintoff was left to salvage what he could.
His rare shows of belligerence came at Jason Gillespieís expense. The allrounder, favouring the swivel-pull, hoisted Gillespie for two fours in one over, followed by a mid-wicket six.
Flintoff, accelerating after a nicely-paced innings, pulled Andrew Symonds for a four and a six before carving Lee high to Mike Hussey at deep point.
Leeís fifth wicket was his most spectacular, Ashley Giles driving to extra cover where Ponting went full length to his right to take a one-handed catch.
Englandís bowlers never threatened when the Australians replied. Adam Gilchrist whacked 29 off 20 balls ' his partner Simon Katich had still not got off the mark.
Gilchrist, bowled by a Darren Gough no-ball in his first over, then edged Flintoff behind with his second ball and Katich (30) later lofted Ashley Giles to long-on.
But Ponting and Damien Martyn made sure there would be no further drama.
The most exciting moment came when a Lancaster bomber, escorted by two World War Two fighters, flew over Lordís as part of a week of commemorations.
There was a minuteís silence before the game as a mark of respect to those killed in the London bombings.
The teams meet in the decider at The Oval on Tuesday.