Alastair Cook made up for the near instant loss of his captain and opening partner Andrew Strauss as England battled for runs on day one of the Ashes at the Gabba.
After Strauss had chosen to bat and then gone for a third-ball duck in the first over, Cook dug in for an unbeaten 60 to anchor England to a teatime total of 172 for four.
Playing a little slower than anticipated, Cook was rarely fluent in a 127-ball half-century which contained just four fours. England were nonetheless thankful for his diligence - and for the fallibility of debutant Xavier Doherty, who put down a routine chance at point from a tame cut at Shane Watson to reprieve Cook on 26.
Strauss had left the first ball of this series from Ben Hilfenhaus and pushed the second defensively into the turf off the back foot. But he thought he saw a scoring opportunity off the third, only for a hint of movement back into him from an otherwise innocuous short ball to result in a cut straight into the hands of gully fielded Mike Hussey.
Cook managed just three singles in the first half-hour, and it was not until first-change Mitchell Johnson dropped short that the left-hander unfurled a notable shot for a pulled four.
There was another scare for England when Australia chanced a review for lbw against number three Jonathan Trott. They lost it, though, with Aleem Dar's not-out verdict standing after simulation suggested the ball from Peter Siddle was clipping only the outside of leg stump.
Trott was to go straight after morning drinks anyway, from the last ball of Watson's first over, driving round a full-length delivery to be bowled off and middle stump.
It was time for Kevin Pietersen, and he seemed at ease with his task either side of lunch - providing several glimpses, in a 70-ball stay, of his mercurial best. Sadly, to English eyes, he did not stay long enough - pushing out at an attempted drive on the up and caught high at second slip for 43 by Ricky Ponting when late movement brought the edge and ended a stand of 76 at the start of a new spell from Siddle.
A minor variation of Pietersen's dismissal soon accounted for Paul Collingwood. Siddle had floated up a half-volley to get Collingwood off the mark with an on-driven four, but two balls later it was all over for the new batsman - edging low to third slip.
Despite Cook's determination, England were still looking for a partnership which might define the innings. Form batsman Ian Bell was the next big hope, and he served his team well up to tea, though Australia were out of DRS chances by then too, having queried Dar again to no avail when Johnson wrongly thought he had Bell edging behind on 18.