England were pegged back after a bright start on day one of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.
James Vince (83) and Mark Stoneman (53) shared a second-wicket stand of 125, a bigger partnership than England managed in the whole of the 2013/14 series, after the early loss of Alastair Cook, but Australia hit back to dismiss the pair either side of tea.
The wicket of Joe Root threatened to derail the innings but Dawid Malan (28no) and Moeen Ali (13no) saw the tourists safely through to the close, finishing on 196-4.
England got their first victory before play even began as Root won the toss and elected to bat, although he may have feared the worst when Cook (2) edged a full, swinging Mitchell Starc (1-45) delivery to Peter Handscomb at first slip in the third over.
However, that was the Australians’ only success of the morning session as Stoneman and Vince batted sensibly on a pitch lacking the sort of pace that was expected, in part due to the rain in Queensland in recent days.
After England advanced to 59-1 at lunch, that rain returned, delaying the restart by almost 90 minutes.
When the players did return, the England batsmen remained as resolute as before in defence with Vince, in particular, playing beautifully through the offside when given the opportunity.
The England No 3 reached his maiden Test fifty from 106 balls but was fortunate to survive as tea approached, a thin edge behind off Nathan Lyon bouncing out Tim Paine’s gloves.
Stoneman followed him to fifty but there was no reprieve for him as Pat Cummins broke the 125-run stand with a brilliant reverse-swinging delivery that beat his defences and thumped into the top of middle – a timely boost for the hosts in the last over before tea.
England had struggled to get Lyon away in the first two sessions but it was his fielding that ultimately did for Vince, the Hampshire batsmen dropping the ball into the offside and setting off for a single, only for the Aussie off-spinner to pick up the ball one-handed at cover and throw down the stumps.
It was a brilliant piece of fielding that put the game back in the balance and with enough turn to worry Root and Malan, Lyon remained a prominent figure in the evening session.
It was Cummins (2-59) who benefitted as the pressure built though, trapping Root (15) lbw as the England captain tried to work the ball to leg – the not-out decision overturned on review with the ball shown to be hitting middle and leg.
Moeen Ali and Malan eased the pressure with a brief flurry of boundaries, the former hitting Lyon (0-40) for a flat six over midwicket, but were forced to dig in as the light began to fade.
Australia took the new ball with two overs remaining but managed just three balls, the last of which saw the home side fail with a review for lbw against Malan, before the umpires took the players off for bad light to end an intriguing opening day of the series.