England have scored 341 for five against Australia
An all-important toss gave England and Michael Vaughan the chance to put a stranglehold on the third npower Ashes Test and the captain's brilliant 166 went a long way towards doing just that.
The late loss of Kevin Pietersen and nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard to the second new ball took a little of the shine off the day in the last 15 minutes, however.
Pietersen was suckered out for the first time in the series. He has shown plenty of cricket nous, but all that disappeared when Brett Lee bowled a bouncer with two men out for the hook. An obvious trap and not one to take on with a six-or-out shot.
Substitute Brad Hodge, who came on for the injured Michael Clarke in the second over of the day, picked up the catch on one of the dreaded multiples of Nelson - 333 for four. Lee struck again when he bowled Hoggard with the last ball of the day and it was a good one, beating him on the outside.
Vaughan won't mind Shane Warne sharing the headlines with that precious 600th Test wicket, because it was the home captain's fifth highest Test hundred out of his 15 in his 106th innings, which pushed Australia into all sorts of errors.
They dropped three catches - two to Adam Gilchrist - and captain Ricky Ponting's handling of his strongest attack on paper was both unimaginative and uninspired.
The fielding was shoddy and, particularly when Vaughan went from 100 to 150 from 39 balls, they were mighty close to becoming a rabble.
A couple of temporary stands have increased the ground's capacity to 23,000 and the patriotic vocal support of last week's Edgbaston crowd was not quite equalled, but was still impressive considering the much more wide open nature of the ground and its larger playing area.
England still have a few nails to drive in before the Aussie coffin is well and truly sealed, but they will be more than happy to have lost only five wickets after a hairy first hour in which they could have been in all sorts of trouble.
Glenn McGrath, in particular, fought such a losing battle with Lady Luck that he must have wondered if it was worthhile handing in his crutches to play in his 111th game for Australia.
Marcus Trescothick was gloved in front of his face in the first over - the ball luckily sailing over the slips for four. If the left-hander's bat had a middle, he never located it in McGrath's first seven overs.
He and Andrew Strauss played and missed a dozen times as the ball appeared to be on a typical McGrath piece of string.
When the inevitable edge came from Trescothick in the fifth over, Gilchrist spilled a regulation catch to his left at knee height and it looked like one of those days when luck runs all one way against the bowler.
From the Warwick Road end, Lee gradually cranked up the speed clock to the mid-nineties and hit Strauss a sickening blow on the helmet in his fourth over.
After running repairs, Lee used his noddle to serve up a lovely slow yorker which caught Strauss on his crease and down went the off stump.
Then followed the first of several captaincy decisions that expose the present incumbent as light years behind predecessors Steve Waugh and Allan Border.
Lee has turned over the England captain this summer on a regular basis and should have had at least three or four more overs as a simple targeting tactic, but Ponting chopped him after only one over.
To compound the error he brought on Jason Gillespie who, for the fifth innings in a row, bowled in embarrassing fashion. His first six overs went for 34 runs and his workload of three spells gave him figures of 15-2-89-0.
Any other captain would have been merciless and taken him off after a couple in the interests of his side. Not Ponting, he persevered with him to give Vaughan a dream kick-start and ushered England in to lunch at 93 for one in the 25th over.
Even had Gillespie bowled well, it was difficult to see why Warne did not bowl his first ball of the day until the 34th over. The pitch might have been true and slow, but the world's greatest-ever slow bowler should have been brought on earlier.
Gilchrist dropped his second catch off McGrath when the pace bowler's nightmare continued.
Vaughan was 41 when he wafted a catch high to Warne at first slip, only for the wicket-keeper to put himself on a bang-to-rights charge of poaching as he dived across and the ball went for two.
Insult can often be added to injury - and next ball McGrath bowled Vaughan, only to realise that umpire Steve Bucknor had no-balled him.
Vaughan and Trescothick each topped 50 and had put on 137 in 32 overs when history finally tapped Warne on the shoulder.
Trescothick, on 63, tried to sweep but the ball was well short of the necessary length and the edge rebounded off batsman and wicket-keeper before Gilchrist caught his one catch of the day out of three.
Was it the Ancient Mariner "who stoppeth one in three"? Don't ask Gilchrist.
Warne deserved every bit of applause and acclamation denied to him by a boorish section of the Edgbaston crowd and who would bet against him reaching 700?
Vaughan was then 74 and made Ian Bell's job easy by playing with greater fluency than at any time in the last 12 months.
He got to three figures off 163 balls and then massacred Gillespie's third spell. Warne was still wheeling away and was frustrated when Matthew Hayden dropped Vaughan at slip when the England captain was on 141.
The third-wicket partnership added 127 (Bell's share was 33) before Vaughan disgusted himself by pulling a full toss from part-time wrist spinner Simon Katich to McGrath in the deep.
With the score then 290 for three and 45 minutes left, the day could have been a belter for England, or perhaps just a pretty good one.
Bell's innings said a lot about temperament - all on the plus side - but the Warwickshire man still looks too tentative against Warne. Today should tell us a lot more about his worth at No 4.
Ponting delayed taking the second new ball for six overs, but Lee's two late wickets gave his side hope that they might limit England to 450.
Andrew Flintoff has to start against that second new ball and two rested fast bowlers this morning and much depends upon him, Bell and Geraint Jones.