Matt Prior England Ashes
England players celebrate the wicket of Steven Smith, December 5. Reuters

Choosing to bat first on a placid-looking pitch, Australia might have envisaged piling on the runs on day one of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

However, England, with two spinners in tow, bowled really well and were on firmly on top heading into the final session, before George Bailey and Michael Clarke calmed some Aussie nerves as the hosts finished the first day on 273 for five.

Three Australia batsmen, including Bailey, who got out near the end of the day, crossed half-centuries, but failed to carry on.

Chris Rogers (72), Shane Watson (51) and Bailey (53) got starts but could not capitalise as England, who themselves missed three catches in the final session, left maybe marginally the happier side having been put behind the eight ball after losing the toss.

"I think it is a fairly even day, to be honest," England spinner Graeme Swann said. "Having lost the toss at Adelaide you always fear the worst as a bowler, but I think five wickets in the day is a pretty good return.

"Obviously six or seven would have been a lot better. We missed a couple of half-chances that we'll rue but if we turn up in the morning and take a couple of quick wickets it will quickly be forgotten.

"The important thing for us is that we bounce back, regroup, and make sure if we get a half-chance in the morning we take it because if we need to get on top of this game we need to keep them to below about 350."

Rogers acknowledged the pitch was playing really well in the batsman's point of view, a far cry from the bounce and pace experienced at the Gabba in the first Test.

"It felt more like a day three wicket, so runs on the board are going to be crucial and if we can keep going and get 400 then I think it will be hard work for England," Rogers said.

"We probably expected at one stage that 500-plus (on that pitch). But the way it started to play tricks and spun towards the back end of the day, then if we can get 400 we'll be right in the game and have enough runs to create a few chances.

"We spoke before the match about the fact that if you get in on this wicket you have to make it count, and that probably was the big disappointment of today.

"There was a lot of starts, but saying that, a lot of us have contributed so if we can keep going and get 400 then it's going to be a very competitive score."

Michael Clarke is still at the crease batting on a circumspect 48, with Brad Haddin giving him company on 5, and the final recognised batting duo will want to put on as big a partnership as possible on the second day.

Where to Watch Live

The second day of the first Test is scheduled for a 5.30 am IST start with live coverage on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD1. You can also catch the action via live streaming by clicking HERE. To watch the match live in the U.S., click HERE. Viewers in Australia can click HERE. To live stream the match in the U.K., click HERE.