Fawad Ahmed announced his arrival for Australia with a breakthrough performance in a 29-run Twenty20 loss to England on Saturday.

The former Pakistani refugee claimed his first full international wickets, finishing with an impressive 3-25 at Chester-le-Street in only his second appearance for his adopted homeland.

The leg-spinner's showing helped keep England to 5-195 from 20 overs after it appeared they were heading for a bigger total, but Australia could only manage 9-168 in response.

England's win was set up by opener Alex Hales' superb 94 from 61 balls while David Warner (53 off 42) led the chase for Australia.

The result ensured honours were even in the two-match T20 series, setting up an intriguing five-match one-day battle starting next week.

Ahmed, who fled to Australia from Pakistan in 2010 as an asylum seeker, completed a remarkable journey to international cricket in a wicketless debut in Australia's 39-run win in Southampton on Thursday.

But he showed on Saturday why he is being tipped for an Ashes call-up in the Australian summer and being touted as a potential new spin king.

His four overs included the last of England's innings, where he took two wickets - including clean bowling Jos Buttler with a turning ball - and conceded only eight runs as the hosts looked to boost their total.

"I was really impressed," Australia captain George Bailey.

"He improved (from game one) and adapted in pretty challenging conditions, I thought, for a leg spinner.

"I thought he handled the pressure of that last over really well so that's good to know for the future.

"That shows he's got a really good knowledge of his own game and pretty good self-belief."

Ahmed was one of few bowlers not to cop heavy punishment after Bailey won the toss.

Hales and Michael Lumb (43 off 27) took it to Australia's pace attack early with James Faulkner (2-37) conceding 19 runs from his first over.

But it was Ahmed who slowed the run rate and took the much-needed first wicket when he had Lumb caught by Matthew Wade.

Ahmed blew a kiss to the sky after taking his first international wicket before being embraced by his teammates.

"It meant a lot to him and would have meant to a lot of people who have helped him over the last 12 months," Bailey said of Ahmed, who toured with Australia A prior to earning his call-up.

"We saw he's got really good control he's got really good skills I think he's someone who can have a lot of success."

Bailey said he'd been encouraging Ahmed to bowl on the stumps, particularly in the shortest format.

"He will be a match winner for us when he does that," Bailey said.

The big target set the scene for Australia opener Aaron Finch to repeat his Rose Bowl heroics after setting a world record for the highest individual score in T20 internationals with 156.

But this time he made just five, mistiming an attempted slog to be caught by Luke Wright off Stuart Broad's bowling.

Shane Watson followed for seven when he was runout in a mix-up with Warner.

At 2-15, Warner and Shaun Marsh (13) steadied the ship with a 67-run partnership.

Warner brought up his 50 from 48 balls but departed a short time later when caught by Hales.

Quick runs from Glenn Maxwell (26 off 16), Bailey (23 off 13) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (13 off 5) kept Australia's faint hopes alive but England wrapped up the win with Ahmed surviving Jade Dernbach's (3-23) final over to be three not out.

Australia will head to Edinburgh for a one-off 50-over match against Scotland on Tuesday before returning for the start of the ODI series against England in Leeds on Friday.

 

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