England have produced a powerful performance to defeat the Australia in the first Cook Cup Test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, the Grand Slam-winning Six Nations champions overcoming a slow start and a 10-point deficit on the back of powerful ball-running from their forwards and unerring goal-kicking from Owen Farrell.
The Wallabies were irrepressible in the opening quarter, threatening to run riot as they combined powerful work at the ruck with excellent handling and dynamic lines from their backs to claim their 10-point buffer inside the opening quarter.
England slowly but surely worked themselves into the game as their big forwards got their ball-running game in order, and the power of their pack ensured they crossed the gain line with abandon to nullify the Wallabies' back-row at the breakdown.
Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola, in particular, were damaging for England, and the image of England's forwards cock-a-hoop after destroying two Wallabies scrums in five minutes in the second half, the second of which saw Scott Sio sin-binned, might be the defining images of the fixture if not the series.
England skipper Dylan Hartley was delighted with the result, and the performance, but said that his players had to keep their "egos in check" before the second Test at Melbourne's AAMI Park.
"Look, we're going to keep our feet on the ground," Hartley said.
"We're well aware it's the first of three.
"We've focused all our energy into this first game and to get that result is a good way to start our campaign.
"It's been built up for a big series. It's exciting."
Australia captain Stephen Moore said that England deserved the victory.
"They played well," Moore said of the tourists.
"They put us under pressure at the breakdown and that's important at this level.
"It's disappointing to lose at home in our first Test of the year. That's the way it goes.
"We need to tighten up for next week. We've got two more games left in this series."
How the game changed after the opening 20 minutes.
Australia were on the front foot from the opening whistle, producing multi-phase play in which Samu Kerevi, on Test debut, Tevita Kuridrani and Israel Folau threatened every time they had the ball. Excellent handling helped then move the ball left and right, and only excellent work from Itoje at the breakdown and ill-discipline from the hosts, conceding three straight penalties, prevented them from opening the score before the ninth minute.
Folau sliced through the England defence and the ball went to Michael Hooper on the right wing, the openside flanker denied only by another great tackle; but he was not to be denied much longer, with Nick Phipps from the ruck and impressive hands from Kerevi putting the No.7 over in the same right corner.
Folau doubled the lead in the 16th minute to 10-0, after Australia had put the ball through nine phases, including one run from David Pocock with impressive footwork through the defence, and the fullback had an easy task to run over the line after a sublime short ball from Bernard Foley.
Foley missed both conversions and England were on the board five minutes later after their first foray into Australian territory, Owen Farrell landing a penalty awarded in the phases after a tremendous bust down the left wing from Jonathan Joseph and Mike Brown, whose ball inside for a certain try was snaffled by Phipps.
England began to claim the ascendency in territory and possession as their big ball runners, notably Billy Vunipola, smashed into their opponents, and Wallabies second-row Rob Simmons was replaced by James Horwill after a heavy contact while Rob Horne failed a concussion test after another.
The Wallabies thought they had extended their advantage when Foley sliced through a gap, but the try was rightly pulled back for obstruction by Rory Arnold, and England coach Eddie Jones immediately withdrew Luther Burrell for George Ford in a tactical switch that turned the match. England reduced the margin when Farrell landed his third goal before hitting the front with a try from Joseph.
Folau claimed a high ball and fed Foley, who threw a wild pass that Kerevi; the centre then fumbled the loose ball and Joseph crossed unopposed for a converted try to complete a 14-point.
Foley reduced the deficit with a penalty awarded for a scrum offence, his first successful goal kick of the evening, before England hit back with a superb first-phase attack from a quick lineout on the left flank, the move ending when Marland Yarde, at full pelt, was hauled down in textbook fashion by Dane Haylett-Petty inside the 22.
Australia continued to offend in the face of England's power, and they could have few complaints about the nine penalties they conceded in the first half, the last of which, awarded for a scrum offence by Scott Sio, gifted Farrell his fourth penalty goal for a 19-13 advantage.
Farrell missed his first kick, hitting the post almost immediately after the re-start when Australia were penalised for the 10th time, but the tourists were not long for denying. James Haskell rand through the Australian defence, and two phases later Ford through a long pass to Yarde in space to touch down unopposed for another converted try.
Australia's execution, exemplary in the opening quarter was lacking in the second half, struggling to put phases together, turning over lineout ball, and generally playing without shape on attack.
Farrell extended the margin further, slotting home after Scott Fardy was penalised for collapsing a maul, Australia's 13th penalty conceded, but Australia showed they were not for giving up.
Phipps sniped on the shortside from a ruck, after good work from Kerevi, before feeding the ball right from the next phase to find Foley in space; the fly-half through a long pass, and Hooper crossed for his second in the corner. Foley, again, missed the conversion.
Farrell kicked a goal after Australia, inevitably, were penalised again, this time for offside - but Australia ensured a grandstand finish when Kuridrani scored a converted first-phase try from a scrum, just minutes after he had ignored Folau, and a certain try, after the fullback broken down the right wing.combined on the left flank,
Australia continued to attack, and England's certain victory was in doubt when Haylett-Petty and Kerevi, but most every metre they made was lost by poor discipline that conceded soft penalties and gifted the tourists every opportunity to clear their lines.
There was delicious irony when Australia won a scrum penalty, that Foley converted from 40 metres directly in front of goal, but stand-in captain Hooper's decision to go for points, knowing the hosts had to score twice to claim victory, was undone by excellent England defence as the Wallabies put 11 phases together without getting out of their own half.
The Australians lost the ball through a loose carry, and Ford broke clear into the Australian 22 before a chip kick saw replacement winger Jack Nowell score a converted try in the left corner.