Australia will be delighted after picking up from where they left off in Manchester to reduce England to 238 for nine.
After winning the toss, Alastair Cook decided to bat first—only to see wickets falling at regular intervals with most batsman struggling to dominate proceedings.
Only Jonathan Trott, playing against type to make 49 off just 60 balls, managed to attain a level of fluency.
It is hard to judge a cricket match after just one side has batted, but Michael Clarke and co. will be more than content with their days work.
Let's piece together the clues garnered from the opening three sessions as to what we might expect from day two.
The Legend of the Moving Plates
Durham will be very proud that their home has managed to create some new cricketing terminology as well as taking nine English scalps.
The aforementioned "moving plates" refer to the large cracked areas of the wicket that are forecast to deteriorate rapidly, aiding the bowlers as the match progresses.
Alastair Cook will have been delighted at winning the toss and his side's score, though low, may yet prove to be competitive if his attack can take full advantage of the conditions.
With runs hard to come by, expect the Australians to struggle similarly to England in what may become a low-scoring thriller.
England to Regret Not Picking Onions
England's stubbornness in not picking the in-form Graham Onions on his home ground could come back to haunt them
The Durham ace looked on from the pavilion as the exotically named Jackson Bird made his series bow, taking one wicket from 21 overs of nagging line and length, remarkably similar to what Onions is capable of.
Although his figures were slightly sabotaged by some late-order blows from Jimmy Anderson, Bird's long tight spells continually tested the English batsman's patience while enabling Michael Clarke to rotate his bowlers at the other end.
The decision to keep faith with Tim Bresnan, whose ability with the bat often gives him the nod over more penetrative bowlers like Onions, will prove costly if Australia build a first innings lead.
Clarke and Rogers To Fill Their Boots
Scoring runs on this wicket favours the batsman with patience and concentration as evidenced by Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott scoring the bulk of England's runs.
Australia have a couple of similar players and England will need to remove them quickly if they are to fight back in this contest.
Chris Rogers made a lean start to this series, but he recorded a fluent 84 at Old Trafford. Buoyed by that knock, the Middlesex man has exactly the right temperament to succeed on this surface.
The other man is, of course, Michael Clarke. Having scored 319 runs already in the three matches, the Australian skipper is capable of batting all day and his innings as usual will be the key as to whether his side will go past England's score.
A Positive Spin for the Hosts
Nathan Lyon's four-wicket haul, while answering some of Australia's short-term spin bowling problems, will also have Graeme Swann licking his lips.
The regulation off-spinner took four for 40 runs in his second game of this Ashes series and ripped the heart out of England's middle order.
But with Swann clearly the superior bowler, his contest with the Baggy Green's will be pivotal.
The absence of Mitchell Stark helpfully creating tailor-made rough for Swann outside leg-stump would normally affect the Nottinghamshire man's impact.
But on a pitch that will soon resemble the surface of the moon, expect the king of Twitter to be a real handful.
So it's day one to Australia, but it's not over until the spin bowler spins. It could be low scoring at times, but expect the second day to be tense as England try to fight back in this contest.
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