DEPOSED captain Andrew Flintoff bowled the first over in today's Twenty20 clash with Australia.

The Lancashire all-rounder was straight in at the deep end after the home side elected to bat in Sydney.

Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden opened the batting, with the former recording the first boundary.

James Anderson took the second over and was smashed by Hayden for three boundaries, taking his side to 20-0 after just two overs.

Flintoff then hit back to concede only two of the next over, but Hayden hammered Anderson for six off the first delivery of the fourth over, before falling caught by Jamie Dalrymple at mid off for 20.

Veteran wicketkeeper Paul Nixon made his international debut as England began the limited-overs section of their tour down under.

Nixon, 36, became the oldest England debutant since John Childs, who was a handful of months older, when he faced West Indies in 1988.

Michael Vaughan returned for the first time in 13 months, taking over the captaincy from Andrew Flintoff.

And there was also a first appearance in England's coloured clothing for left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.

Andrew Strauss, struck on the helmet during last week's fifth Test defeat as England surrendered the Ashes 5-0, was rested so Ed Joyce, his Middlesex colleague, came in at the top of the order.

The previous meeting between the teams in this form of the game ended in a thumping 100-run win for England at the Rose Bowl in 2005.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting won the toss and chose to bat first in a game which fast bowlers Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson were ruled out of.

Lee was ruled out through illness while Johnson incurred a stomach strain, so Australia gave first international appearances to fast bowlers Ben Hilfenhaus and Shane Harwood.