Fourteen wickets tumble but the Australia captain says his side is right in the fight.
New Australia coach Darren Lehmann said his side were “here to play” after an “even-stevens” start to the Ashes series against England at Trent Bridge.
Australia, after losing the toss, dismissed England for just 215 with fast-medium bowler Peter Siddle taking five for 50.
But the grey skies aiding swing and seam bowling were still there when Australia batted and at stumps they were 75 for four, a deficit of 140 runs, after England seamers James Anderson and Steven Finn had taken two wickets each.
That took some of the shine off the day for Australia, who will resume the first Investec Test Thursday with Steven Smith 38 not out and Phil Hughes seven not out.
“It’s pretty even stevens isn’t it,” Lehmann, appointed just 16 days before this series started following the sacking of South African Mickey Arthur, told reporters after stumps.
“Tomorrow (Thursday) is going to be a pretty big day — most of them are in an Ashes series,” he added with Australia looking to regain the urn after two straight campaign losses to England.
“We’re very pleased to bowl them out for 215 and it probably should have been cheaper. But we’re here to play, no doubt about it.
Australia’s new-ball duo of James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc, both making their Ashes debuts, were wayward to begin with but first change Siddle — who on the corresponding opening day of the 2010/11 Ashes series took six for 54 in Brisbane, including a hat-trick on his birthday, showed the newcomers the way.
“It’s the first day of an Ashes series, that’s pretty big and the younger guys probably got a bit over excited with the new ball,” said Lehmann.
“But Peter stood up when it counted, took a five-for and led the attack as we expected.
“I’m really pleased for him.”
Meanwhile England were left hoping Stuart Broad would be fit to take his place in their attack on Thursday.
Broad didn’t field Wednesday after being struck by a Pattinson bouncer on his right shoulder while batting.
Broad hasn’t bowled competitively since injuring his right shoulder while batting during England’s Champions Trophy final defeat by India at Edgbaston on June 23 and last week had a cortisone injection to ease the pain.
“He got hit on the shoulder and he’s a bit sore,” said Finn after play on Wednesday.
“The extent of the damage I don’t know. He’ll receive treatment overnight and he’ll come back tomorrow when we’ll see how he is.
“We’re hopeful he’ll be fit. (If not) I’ll have to bowl a few more overs I think and we’ll just have to rotate ourselves.
Finn agreed with Lehmann’s assessment of the game, saying: “I think it’s pretty even.
“Maybe we have our noses ahead, but it’s a very tight battle at the moment,” the Middlesex quick added.
“The first hour tomorrow is important in terms of how we set the tone as bowlers and how we come out and attack the Australians.
“A few wickets in the first hour and we could put our noses in front.”
Finn played his part Wednesday, removing Shane Watson and Ed Cowan with successive deliveries before Australia captain Michael Clarke narrowly survived the hat-trick.
But Clarke, Australia’s best batsman, fell for a six-ball nought when he was clean bowled by a gem of an Anderson delivery that angled in before seaming off the pitch to clip the top of off stump.
“It’s great when something like that comes off in a game and to get the Australia captain with a ball like that was something exceptional for us,” said Finn.
“Hopefully he can do it a few more times.”