England number three James Vince produced his best performance to date in England whites but a mini-collapse leaves the tourists with plenty of work to do in the first innings of this year's Ashes curtain-raiser.
Stoneman and Vince respond after early Cook dismissal
Despite Joe Root winning the toss and opting to bat, it took less than 15 minutes for Australia to get the first wicket of the 70th Ashes series. Alastair Cook pushed forward at a Mitchell Starc delivery and duly edged the ball straight to the safe hands of Peter Handscomb at first slip after scoring just two. It was a key wicket for the hosts with Cook boasting an excellent record at the Gabba.
Yet England responded through two batsmen under pressure going into the contest. Mark Stoneman and James Vince produced a patient partnership of 125 that was halted by a lengthy rain delay. Stoneman was patient in his compilation, scoring 53 off 159 balls with just three boundaries.
However, it was the wicket of the opener that appeared to swing the pendulum back in the favour of the hosts. Pat Cummins trapped Stoneman LBW with just two overs remaining until tea.
Fielding heroics from Lyon abruptly concludes a fine innings
Vince had played excellently at the other end, executing some fine shots through the off-side. However, he was put down by Tim Paine on 68 after a fine edge off Nathan Lyon just before Cummins captures the wicket of Stoneman.
Yet Vince failed to make Australia's wicketkeeper pay and soon departed just after tea. The number three punched a ball straight to Lyon with runs never really a possibility. Vince called through captain Joe Root but saw Lyon knock down his middle stump with a fluid pick up and shy at the stumps. England had fallen from 127-1 to 145-3 in the space of 31 balls and the home fans were in buoyant mood.
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Root departs cheaply
Lyon was also undoubtedly the pick of the bowlers for Australia, finishing the day without a wicket but conceding just 40 runs from 24 overs. He was particularly effective at putting pressure on Root and Dawid Malan with the ball turning and bouncing as the pair made just 18 from 77 balls. Root was feeling the heat and eventually fell victim to another Cummins LBW as he stepped too far across the line and lost his balance and positioning, departing for only 15 after a successful Australian appeal.
With the tourists under pressure and knowing they had to protect their wickets until the close of play, Malan and Moeen Ali opted to counter with the latter pulling an excellent flat six as he set about tarnishing Lyon's figures.
Malan survived a late Australian review on the last ball of the day with Starc's delivery hitting the pads but just venturing past leg stump. After the appeal was turned down, the umpires opted to call it a day with the light fading, a decision that frustrated home captain Steven Smith who smelt blood with nine scheduled balls remaining.
England walked off after scoring 196 for the loss of four wickets going into a crucial morning session on the second day. Everything to play for.