Brisbane: England captain Andrew Strauss was caught out for a duck from the third ball of the first Ashes test at the Gabba but the tourists recovered to reach lunch at 86-2 Thursday.
Opener Strauss, who had won the toss and chosen to bat, left the first ball from Australian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus, defended the second but cut the third straight to Mike Hussey at gully after just three minutes at the crease.
Jonathan Trott replaced him and hit a sharp 29 before following his captain to the dressing room but Alastair Cook (29 not out) and Kevin Pietersen (23 not out) came through some tricky moments to reach the first break looking comfortable.
England had hoped to make a good start at the Gabba, where Australia have not lost a test since 1988, as they began their quest to win their first Ashes series in Australia since 1986-87.
Memories of Steve Harmison's first delivery to second slip in the first match of the ill-fated 2006-07 series have long haunted the English and Strauss's early dismissal delighted a big crowd packed into the Gabba.
Trott, however, took the game to the Australian pace attack of Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson on a slowish pitch and, after he was bowled through the gate by a full delivery from Shane Watson, Pietersen took up the challenge.
Left arm spinner Xavier Doherty got some turn off the pitch in his first spell as a test cricketer but he should have given Watson his second wicket when he dropped Cook at point when the opener was on 26.
Although there was plenty of cloud around, the sun shone for most of the morning and England will be content to have got through the first session as well as they did after the hammer blow of Strauss's early dismissal.