ENGLAND remains on top at the halfway point of the first day of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.
Australia is 4-129 with Mike Hussey on 54 (107 balls, five fours) and Marcus North 16 (51 balls, three fours).
Shane Watson was out for 51 in the second over of the session driving at Jimmy Anderson after a gutsy hand that pulled his side out of a deep hole.
The delivery was not quite full enough for his attempted drive and the lofted offering was well-held by Kevin Pietersen at a deep, square gully.
The wicket was a triumph for England captain Andrew Strauss, who noted Watson had sent streaky shots through the backward point area in the first session.
Watson and Hussey added 94 after Australia collapsed to 3-2 after the first 13 balls of the Test match.
Watson hit the first Test match six to lob in the new Members enclosure when he slog-swept Graeme Swann 15 minutes before lunch.
Watson and Hussey rescued their side from one of its worst starts in memory.
The carnage started when Simon Katich was run out without facing a ball thanks to a Jonathan Trott direct hit from forward square leg.
Then Ricky Ponting lunged forward to nick a good length ball from Jimmy Anderson to Graeme Swann at second slip.
Michael Clarke managed a single before he also edged Anderson to Swann.
The Australian captain and his deputy both pushed too hard at good length balls that left them late off the wicket.
Both openers were culpable in Katich’s run out although the victim must wear most of the blame.
Katich started too slowly and then compounded the sin by ball-watching, although calling for a tight single so early on the day was perhaps unwise by Watson.
Watson survived a video review when Anderson rapped him on the front pad in the fifth over, when the Australian was on seven and the score 3-11.
Replays showed the ball was passing over the stumps.
The score had advanced by one when Hussey was dropped by Anderson, who got his left hand to a sharp caught and bowled chance.
In Anderson’s next over a Hussey edge fell just short of Swann at second slip.
Anderson was bowling with great control and a beautiful upright seam that allowed the ball to curl nicely away from the right handers.
Watson hit two handsome fours through the covers and an uppish streaky four behind point from Steven Finn.
Watson and Hussey brought up their 50 partnership in the second over after drinks.
They dealt harshly with young England quick Steven Finn, who has gone for 35 from six overs.
Earlier, Australia brought Ryan Harris into the pace attack for Ben Hilfenhaus as Australia looked to wrong-foot England with a new-look bowling line-up.
Harris joins Peter Siddle and Doug Bollinger in the pace battery after Mitchell Johnson was dropped yesterday.
Ponting had no hesitation in batting first on a fine and warm day before the oval’s gleaming new western stand and a sellout crowd.
England is fielding the same lineup that fought back to draw the first Test in Brisbane.
The forecast is for a fine day with a top of 32C.
Australia: Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Xavier Doherty, Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger.
England: Andrew Strauss (c), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn.