Ponting booed, Clarke bounced
Catch of the day
Steven Finn is not the sort of character who leaps before he looks. His maiden spell in Ashes cricket veered towards the tentative, as he plugged away on a variety of lengths while looking to calibrate his metronomical action. For a while Shane Watson kept punishing his fullest offerings, so his response was to slip half a yard short of perfection. But after the lunch break, he got it just right straightaway. Simon Katich had just brought up a typically hard-grafted half-century when Finn drew him into a stabbed defensive push. With the sort of athleticism that defies his giraffe-like frame (and which eluded the career of his mentor Angus Fraser), Finn scooped the offering with both hands at ankle-height, then leapt six feet in the air to celebrate later. One ball later, and he was so nearly on a hat-trick, as Hussey's nervous stab dropped inches short of second slip.
Tussle of the day
Graeme Swann was made to wait for his proper introduction to the series, as Andrew Strauss limited him to two one-off overs in the course of the first two sessions. But his eventual appearance, in the 45th over, did not have quite the instant impact he is used to. With Hussey emboldened by his let-off and batting with the freedom that he had shown in the Sheffield Shield last week, he climbed onto the offensive with a second-ball six and a rifled cut for four. Thereafter he was all aggression, leathering Swann through midwicket on the unusually regular occasions with which he dropped short, and denting his otherwise impressive reputation against left-handers. After four overs he'd been battered for 34 runs, although he partially redeemed his day against that other leftie Marcus North, whose eighth-ball snick to Collingwood at slip was a continuation of his familiar tale of poor starts.
Welcome of the day
Ricky Ponting's ears rung with jeers every time he walked out to bat during the 2009 Ashes. But surely he'd be more popular in a home series against England? Not exactly. There are so many English supporters at the Gabba that their boos drowned out the local cheers when Ponting stepped on the ground after Shane Watson's dismissal. In response to the verbal disdain, the Australian spectators stood up to applaud their country's captain.
Struggle of the day
Michael Clarke's body has been aching in the lead-up to the match and it was bothering him again during his uncomfortable display. Early in his drawn-out innings England appealed loudly for a caught-behind when Clarke flashed off the back foot. When it was given not out, Andrew Strauss immediately called for a referral but the replays didn't show an edge. Only when Snicko was cued up, a couple of minutes later, was a tiny nick heard. Snicko isn't part of the technology for challenges because it takes too long to review.
Point-prover of the day
If there was a single recurring theme through the build-up to this series, it centred around James Anderson and his ineffectiveness in Australian conditions. It's true that he had an especially poor trip in 2006-07, on which he averaged 82.60, and here at the Gabba, he went for 1 for 195. But right at this moment, he's up there with the best in the world, and the way in which he adapted to the wicket was impressive in the extreme. Like most of his team-mates, he eased his way in at first, but soon found that zippy full-length that is so devastating in swinging conditions, but waspishly economical on all other occasions. A UDRS overturn denied him an early breakthrough, but the post-lunch strangle of Ricky Ponting set him on a roll that brought England surging back into the match. With the new ball tomorrow, he's ready to be a real threat.
Technological inventions of the day
Simon Katich was more successful with his referral for an lbw to Anderson when 27, with the reprieve coming after the replay showed the ball going over the stumps. In Anderson's next over it was Watson's turn for some close-ups, but Billy Doctrove's not out lbw decision was correct and England lost their final challenge. Relief came quickly for the tourists, with Watson edging the next ball to Strauss at first slip.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo and Peter English is Australasian editor