Australia have laid the perfect platform for a big total in the second Ashes Test, reaching 1-191 at tea on day one.
Chris Rogers and Steve Smith’s unbeaten partnership at Lord’s was worth 113 runs after Thursday’s wicket-less second session.
With the exception of David Warner throwing his wicket away, Australia made an impressive response to last week’s 169-run loss in Cardiff.
This time around it was England putting down a catch they could ill afford to drop.
Smith was on 50, having pushed his side to a total of 1-167, when Ian Bell fumbled a low catch at second slip.
The 26-year-old exercised more caution than he did in the first Test, but reached 62no and kept the scoreboard ticking over as England’s attack toiled for little reward.
Rogers had a nervous moment on zero in the opening over, when an edge flew over the slips cordon and careered to the rope.
From that point on the Middlesex captain looked a class above England at his adopted home ground.
Rogers was 81 at tea, eyeing his fourth Ashes hundred.
Opener Adam Lyth bowled the final over before tea as England captain Alastair Cook tried to conjure a wicket.
Earlier, Warner attempted to go after Moeen Ali when the offspinner came on to bowl the 15th over.
Warner smacked Ali’s first two deliveries to the rope, but his third wild stroke in the over ended with Jimmy Anderson catching the skied ball.
“Warner threw his wicket away there. Australia were dominating that session, he didn’t need to do that,” Glenn McGrath said on BBC.
Former captain Ricky Ponting called Warner’s dismissal on 38 an “absolute gift”.
“Australia were holding the absolute ascendancy at that stage … you don’t get batting conditions like this too often in England,” Ponting said on Sky Sports.
Throwing away starts was one of Australia’s many batting problems in the first Test, which they lost inside four days.
Michael Clarke had no hesitation in batting first on a “very good pitch” after winning the toss, while Alastair Cook admitted England were also keen to bat first.
As expected, Australia made two changes to the their side.
Brad Haddin (family reasons) and Shane Watson (dropped) were replaced by debutant Peter Nevill and Mitch Marsh.
Ali was retained by England despite suffering a minor side strain in Cardiff.