England started the match with three players from Sunday’s final win over Pakistan in Buttler, Phi Salt and Chris Jordan.
Buttler’s vice-captain Moeen Ali had warned the timing of the series was “awful”, and that it would always be a challenge for England to avoid a World Cup hangover.
But one of their T20 stalwarts, Dawid Malan, who missed the last two matches of the tournament with a groin injury, offered the best resistance on a 287-9 aggregate.
Malan is convinced cricket at 50 is his best format in the game and backed it up with 134 runs on 128 balls, including 16 boundary runs.
But the support provided by the rest of the England batting line-up was limited, with only Buttler and David Willey providing much support with 29 and 34 respectively. Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa were the choice of home bowlers with three wickets apiece.
David Warner and Travis Head effectively set up the victory with an opening wicket partnership of 147 inside 20 overs before Head went to Salt at Jordan’s bowling.
Two quick wickets for Willey – Sam Billings catching Warner from deep and Buttler performing a diving catch to knock out Marnus Labuchagne cheaply – briefly stemmed the tide of runs.
But Warner had already scored a run-a-ball 86 and Head 69 from 57, leaving Australia’s third half centurion Steve Smith (80 not knocked out) to lead Australia to victory with a 28e ODI 50 with three overs remaining.
Game two is on Tuesday and England are set to welcome back a number of their T20 World Cup stars, including Adil Rashid and Sam Curran, who were both rested for this ODI opener.