DARWEN'S Alex Davies was on the losing side as England's ICC Under 19 World Cup campaign began with defeat at the hands of hosts and competition favouties Australia this morning The 17-year-old opened the batting and made 18 as Australia won the toss and put England in to bat at Townsville's Tony Ireland Stadium.

Davies, the only non full-time county player in the touring party, impressed as others around him failed as England were bowled out for just 143 in 38.3 overs.

Adam Ball's side struggled for impetus throughout their innings, losing wickets at regular intervals and Craig Overton was top scorer with 35.

Australia opening bowlers Joel Paris and Mark Steketee utilised the pace and bounce on offer to reduce England to 6-2 in the second over.

Paris shaped a delivery back to trap Daniel Bell-Drummond, while in-form wicketkeeper batsman Ben Foakes shouldered arms to a Steketee in-swinger.

Opener Davies edged a vicious short ball from Steketee behind and when Aneesh Kapil was also caught at the wicket to give New South Wales seamer Gurinder Sandhu the first of three scalps, England were 61-4.

Overton's efforts and 20 from Ball saw England at least post a total - but that was never likely to be enough to trouble Australia, despite Jamie Overton giving England hope as he and Essex’s Reece Topley took two wickets apiece with the new ball to reduce Australia to 54-4 But an unbroken stand of 93 between captain William Bosisto (35 not out) and Travis Head (57 not out) guided Australia to a six-wicket win.

England's secone game with Ireland takes place in the early hours of Sunday.