Captain Alastair Cook led a near-strokeless crawl as England made slow progress on the first morning of the fourth Investec Test at Chester-le-Street.
Cook blunted a probing Australian attack after winning the toss and electing to bat under cloudy skies, to help England to 57 for one at lunch.
On a morning in which Cook's watchful eye was the feature, the skipper faced 90 balls for his 21, the only wicket to fall was Joe Root after Hot Spot passed its first test following this week's controversy.
Umpire Tony Hill failed to detect an edge behind off Shane Watson that the technology over-ruled after Australia reviewed the call.
England named an unchanged line-up, with Australia bringing in only Jackson Bird for his Ashes debut in place of left-armer Mitchell Starc.
Bird was handed the new ball as England made painfully slow progress.
Cook took 17 balls to get off strike and with Root put on just 31 in the first hour, albeit without loss.
Australia's seamers found a bit of movement with the ball but England's stoicism meant their probing lines were rewarded only with a slow scoring rate.
It was the last ball of the 12th over before the first boundary was hit when Root eased into a cover drive off Bird.
Cook followed suit with the first ball of the next over, pushing Ryan Harris through mid on, before Australia's patience finally earned Root's wicket.
Umpire Hill did not raise his finger to the tourists' appeal, but the Decision Review System ruled that an incorrect call via both the audio and, most significantly, Hot Spot.
The thermal-imaging technology has come under fire this week with its inventor, Warren Brennan, apparently voicing some concern over it to the International Cricket Council.
Despite that the system showed a fine edge on Root's bat to help send the England opener on his way.
Jonathan Trott then joined Cook in grafting their way to lunch and ensuring the skipper's decision to bat first was looming as the correct one.