Ashley Giles blamed nerves as England under-performed and allowed Australia to dominate the opening day of the Ashes series at the Gabba.
The Warwickshire spinner ended a year on the sidelines through injury to bowl tidily on his comeback, but was unable to prevent Australia reaching a commanding 346 for three by the close of the opening day with captain Ricky Ponting hitting an unbeaten 137.
Condemned to the field after Ponting won the toss, England never recovered from their nervous start with Steve Harmison delivering the first ball so wide it had to be fielded by England captain Andrew Flintoff at second slip.
Harmison bowled only 12 overs in the day, while James Anderson and Matthew Hoggard both also struggled with only Giles (one for 51) and Flintoff (two for 48) enjoying any success.
But Giles believes it was nerves brought on by the scale of the occasion which undermined England’s display, stressing: "The bus was a quiet place this morning.
"We’ve all been there before. It was the first day of a series, the first day of an Ashes series but you can’t really prepare that well for it - you know you’re going to be nervous and you’ve got to get yourself into it.
"We all arrived at the ground and all started the game nervous. Until you get into the game by having a bowl or a bat there’s going to be some nerves there.
"I don’t think that’s contributed hugely to the score but this has been probably the most hyped series of any Ashes series. It’s a great honour to play in it, but that adds extra pressure as well."
But Giles is confident England can bounce back strongly tomorrow as they attempt to restrict Australia’s progress towards a major first-innings total.
"The guys will keep their heads up," he claimed. "They are tired, but I know this England team and tomorrow they will come out buzzing and we’ll be looking to pick up some early wickets.
"This side doesn’t lie down so I’m sure we’ll be back in the morning coming out fighting."
Meanwhile, Ponting tried not to get too carried away after his first day performance.
Openers Justin Langer (82) and Matthew Hayden (21) gave Australia a good start before Ponting made his mark, with Mike Hussey (63no) sharing in an unbroken 148-run fourth-wicket stand.
"It was quite an interesting start to the day," smiled Ponting. "Our openers got us off to a great start and put the England bowlers under pressure and then Mike and I had a nice little partnership to cap the day off."
Ponting admitted his form had not been brilliant heading into the game but he completed his 32nd Test century, drawing his level with Steve Waugh as the most centuries scored by an Australian,
"I haven’t made many of late - my one-day game hasn’t been great," said Ponting. "But I got to go in when the shine was off the ball and was able to build an innings and spending some time in the middle was fun."
The Australia captain refused to entertain thoughts of posting a double century, however.
"I will just worry getting through the first ball in the morning. The first hour is vital for us tomorrow," he said.
Ponting felt his team played well but he accepted Flintoff’s side had not had much luck, adding: "I don’t think the ball helped them (England) today - it didn’t swing at all early on which is unusual in Brisbane and they didn’t get much assistance from the wicket."