Martin Johnson tasted defeat for the first time as England manager as the World Cup finalists lost 28-14 to Australia at Twickenham.
England trailed by just a point at the interval, having scored the only try of the first half through Harlequins No8 Nick Easter.
The boot of Wallaby outside-half Matt Giteau proved to be the decisive factor as he landed six penalties and a conversion for a personal tally of 20 points.
The Australians gained some sort of revenge for their World Cup quarter-final defeat in Marseilles last year by scoring 17 unanaswered points after Danny Cipriani’s second penalty had put England 14-11 in front.
Adam Ashley-Cooper’s late try sealed the win for the visitors who had moved 21-14 ahead thanks to a 50-metre penalty from skipper Stirling Mortlock with 15 minutes left to play.
England now turn their attentions to world champions South Africa, who arrive at Twickenham next Saturday fresh from successive victories over Wales and Scotland.