And as expected, Alastair Cook and Kevin Petersen looked as if they were content to start slowly.

Pietersen, as is his tendency returning to the crease, had a few shaky moments early-on, inside edging Peter Siddle just past his leg stump for four.

He continued to chip away, eventually loosening his shoulders and showing some good strokes, driving repeatedly through extra cover.

He eventually reached his slowest ever half century, but was out not soon after.

Pietersen’s innings had been built on him playing more straight than usual, and it was a loose shot, playing across the line of the ball that saw him cut a wide ball from Pattinson onto his middle stump, breaking stump-cam in the process.

Cook followed Pietersen’s lead, bringing up his half century and promptly getting out.

Ashton Agar, yesterday’s hero, claimed his first wicket in test cricket, offering a dipping delivery to England’s captain, who edged onto his pad; the ball ballooned up to Michael Clarke at first slip who took a brilliant retreating catch diving to his left.

Bell and Bairstow batted out the session with a minimum of drama, save a few leggish looking lbw appeals.

England went into lunch on 157-4 with a lead of 92 runs.

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