Jos Buttler struck a fantastic fifth ODI century from 83 deliveries and played the leading role in a crucial partnership with Chris Woakes to help England secure their third consecutive victory over Australia on Sunday [21 January] and take an unassailable lead in the five-match series.
Buttler [100*] and Woakes [53*] produced a remarkable seventh-wicket stand of 113 runs in just 11.5 overs in an entertaining end to the tourists' innings that left them with a total of 302/6 - only the second time they had ever passed the 300-mark in an ODI contest at Sydney's SCG.
Captain Eoin Morgan had added 41 in his own 65-run partnership with Buttler and Test counterpart Joe Root hit 27 before being dismissed for the first time in the series.
Jonny Bairstow  was 11 short of his half-ton when he was bowled by a googly from Adam Zampa after openers Jason Roy  and Alex Hales  fell inside the first 11 overs.
Moeen Ali's struggles with the bat continued as he was bowled by Mitchell Marsh for just 6 after being dropped on 2 by Cameron White.
Needing a successful run chase to keep the series alive after successive losses in Melbourne and Brisbane, Ashes winners Australia lost David Warner  early when he skewed a Woakes delivery into the hands of Hales.
34-year-old White  edged behind off Mark Wood, while England bowler Liam Plunkett left the field with a left hamstring injury and did not return.
Aaron Finch , coming off back-to-back 100s, was trapped lbw by Adil Rashid to end a threatening partnership with skipper Steve Smith, who was later caught behind in controversial fashion for 45 amid suggestions that the ball had hit the ground.
The hosts still needed 93 when Marsh  drove Rashid's ball to Hales in the deep at a pivotal time. Marcus Stoinis, alongside Tim Paine , tried his utmost to keep Australia in contention with a speedy 56 from 43 as they headed into the final over requiring 22.
That went down to 19 from four when Woakes had Stoinis caught by substitute fielder Sam Billings to end any hope of a remarkable finish and continue England's dominant run in the 50-over format.
Both man-of-the-match Buttler and Morgan subsequently described the victory as arguably the best this current side had ever produced, with the former telling Sky Sports: "This was very special. I just told Eoin Morgan that it was the best win we have ever had. The way we were challenged and to come through was very satisfying.
"We have championed this way of playing, and it is very important that we continue to do so even when we are losing wickets. Personally performing in Australia against [Pat] Cummins, [Mitchell] Starc and [Josh] Hazlewood is very satisfying."
Confident England will now have their sights firmly set on a potential whitewash as the series moves on to Adelaide on Friday before concluding in Perth next weekend.