Australia were dismissed inside 46 overs with Graeme Swann claiming 4-37 as the tourists posted a dismal 212.
England skipper Andrew Strauss made 83 and looked to have secured the series yet a colossal flurry of wickets exposed the England tail.
Tim Bresnan kept his cool however to take England over the finish line with 5 balls and 1 wicket to spare.
Victory had seemed a formality when Strauss, along with Eoin Morgan, built a solid forth wicket partnership. However when the England captain edged behind off Harris wickets began to tumble.
The re-called Shaun Tait gave the Australian bowling attack a much needed boost and along with fellow seamers Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris exposed the England tail coming narrowly short of a remarkable bowling comeback.
The sheer pace of Bollinger was too much for Swann and Broad who both saw their stumps shattered in a double wicket maiden.
Bresnan managed to get himself on strike for the final over, protecting James Anderson, and fortunately his edged shot raced to the third man boundary to the relief of the England balcony.
The teams now move south to play at Lords and the Oval for what will unfortunately be two potential dead rubber games.
That fact will be of little concern to Strauss and Andy Flower however, as England seize the early Ashes momentum ahead of the Autumn.
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