Australia were routed for 245 by England on day one of the second Ashes Test, unable to recover from their worst start to a first innings for 74 years.

The Australians lost Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting in the first over then Michael Clarke in the third to be 3-2 before many of a sold out crowd of 38,615 had made it to their seats.

Jimmy Anderson (4-51) was brilliant in exploiting his narrow window for early swing before conditions settled down, and Graeme Swann (2-70) applied a firm grip for the remainder of the day by finding a far better length than he managed in Brisbane.

Mike Hussey (93), Brad Haddin (56) and Shane Watson (51) did their best to salvage the innings, but the loss of the last five wickets for 38 left a desperately poor total.

England negotiated one over to be 0-1 before the close.

After two wickets fell across the final two days of the first Test, Ponting had every right to expect a strong start when he won the toss on a glorious morning in Adelaide.

Instead he was the middle man in the direst beginning to an Australian Test innings since being 3-1, also against England, on a wet wicket at Sydney in 1936.

It was the worst start to any innings since Australia were 3-0 against England in their second innings of the 1950 Brisbane Test.

The drama began fourth ball of the match when a mix-up between the openers allowed Jonathan Trott to throw the stumps down from midwicket and send Katich on his way without facing a ball – a diamond duck.

Ponting walked in and first ball pressed forward at Anderson’s teasing away swing, the edge pouched neatly by Swann at second slip – a golden duck.

Clarke (two) averted a third wicket in the first over and also secured Australia’s first run, but in the third over he pushed uncertainly at another exemplary outswinger from Anderson and presented Swann with his second catch.

The early flurry was given greater significance by the remainder of the session, which saw Hussey and Watson gain confidence on a surface that became increasingly docile following the early burst of life.

Watson had added only one more run since lunch when he drove at Anderson and sliced to backward point.

North managed to ease past his habitual score between nought and 10 but was unable to go on to anything substantial, cuffing Steve Finn (1-71) behind in the shadows of tea to raise serious doubts about his place.

Haddin and Hussey threatened to reprise their Gabba heroics while adding a circumspect 51 in the face of disciplined bowling.

Hussey had reached the cusp of a century when he drove at a Swann off break that turned enough to find an edge to slip.

Next ball Ryan Harris was beaten by an off-break and lbw, though his appeal against the decision indicated the chance of an edge and also that the ball may have missed leg stump.

While Doherty averted the hat-trick, his batting did not inspire confidence in Haddin, who set off for an ambitious single only for his partner to be run out.