ENGLAND openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook survived a testing period just before the close to leave England in control after day one of the third Ashes Test at the WACA in Perth.
Captain Strauss (12 not out) survived the only scare when he edged a rising Ryan Harris delivery but the ball dropped just short of Ricky Ponting at second slip as he and Cook (17no) took the tourists to 29 without loss from 12 overs at stumps.
Chris Tremlett and James Anderson had earlier taken three wickets apiece to dismiss Australia for 268 as the hosts again made a slow start to the opening day for the second Test in a row.
It required a rearguard action from Mike Hussey (61), Brad Haddin (53) and Mitchell Johnson (62) to get Australia out of trouble after they had been reduced to 36 for four at one stage during the morning session.
There was also a brief cameo from Peter Siddle as he and Ben Hilfenhaus added a record Australian 10th wicket partnership against England at Perth of 35 but the tourists look well-placed on a wicket that appeared to be flattening out.
Tremlett (three for 61) marked his return to Test cricket with two of England’s four wickets before lunch as the tourists made immediate inroads against opponents who must avoid defeat here to stay in with a chance of winning back the Ashes.
Recalled opener Phil Hughes, Australia captain Ponting, Michael Clarke and finally Shane Watson were the men to go on an increasingly sunny morning - as England’s pace bowlers found the assistance in a green pitch that Strauss was hoping for after winning the toss.
Tremlett’s third wicket saw Steven Smith edge to slip as Australia limped to 69 for five.
Hussey and Haddin responded in a counter-attacking stand until the left-hander - having reached his 50 with a cut off Steven Finn for his seventh four from 98 balls, on his home ground - went caught behind to Graeme Swann after England used the Decision Review System to detect a thin edge through to Matt Prior.
Haddin, joined by Johnson, continued to play some adventurous strokes - and although he slowed with his 50 in sight, he still reached the mark 31 balls quicker than Hussey had managed.
Harris made just three and Johnson, back in the team after his poor performance in the first Test in Brisbane meant he was dropped for Adelaide, had to grab what he could with the tail.
Johnson and Siddle put on 32 for the ninth wicket before the former’s morale-boosting knock came to an end with a pull off Finn flying straight to Anderson at square leg.
Siddle carried on, however, and he remained unbeaten on 35 when Hilfenhaus became the last man out, clipping Swann via his thigh pad to Cook at short leg for 13 as the home side were dismissed.