Alastair Cook and Joe Root came through a cagey first hour unscathed after the England captain chose to bat first in the fourth Investec Test against Australia at Chester-le-Street.
Cook perhaps had a tricky decision to make, after winning the toss under partly cloudy but brightening skies, on a pitch many predicted would help the seamers.
That was not especially evident, as Ryan Harris and Jackson Bird - brought in for his first Ashes Test - failed to find any significant sideways movement either in the air or off the seam with the new ball.
Cook and Root were in no hurry, as England seek to turn their unassailable 2-0 lead into a third successive outright Ashes series victory, and reached just 31 without loss after 14 overs.
Cook needed 17 balls to get off the mark.
There was still no four from either player until Root drove the final ball of the 12th over to the extra-cover boundary off Bird. Then the next ball, the first of Harris' second spell, trickled over the rope at long off from a Cook drive.
A slow outfield was contributing to the modest scoring rate.
But there was the consolation for both sides that, as yet, there had been no need for the Decision Review System - such a vexed and controversial process throughout this series so far.
England were unchanged here, sticking with the team which retained the urn in the rain-affected stalemate at Old Trafford - while for Australia, Bird's inclusion was at the expense of left-armer Mitchell Starc.