Half an hour of heaven for England's travelling troops
Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide was supposed to be the Rachel Stevens of this Ashes series - extremely easy on the eye, possibly a little bland, very little chance of a result. Instead the first half hour on Friday was more Grace Jones: shocking, slightly bonkers and like nothing you'd ever seen before.
The 517-1 England supporters saw glowing from the electronic scoreboard at the Gabba earlier in the week should have been impossible to top. Three overs into the morning here, the beautifully ornate old manual board at the Cathedral End was showing something equally impossible: Australia 3-2.
In English scoring terms - two down for just three runs - it would have been happy enough. That it was in the local lingo was the stuff of wild English fantasy: three prime men back in the hutch for two runs on the best batting track in the country, after Australia had won the toss and quite sensibly opted to bat.
The scoreboard at the close, bathed in the baking evening sunshine and reading 245 all out, was worthy of snapping for a screensaver. But it was those first frantic overs that will stay in the memory unprompted.
The first three balls brought standard defensive shots from Shane Watson, coming forward comfortably to dead-bat Anderson back up the track. After the third-ball duck shipped by Andrew Strauss in the first over in Brisbane, it all seemed rather tame.
Then Watson came over all Allan Donald in the World Cup semi-final of 1999, setting off for a suicide single, senses scrambled by adrenaline and occasion, and the plot-line suddenly disappeared somewhere wholly unexpected.
His partner Katich didn't stand a chance. There wasn't so much as a backward glance at his errant partner, nor Trott, possibly the last England fielder you'd expect to throw down one stump from square leg.
If that felt like something of a Brucie bonus, the name of the game soon became delirious celebration.
There is no greater prize for an England cricket team in an Ashes down under than Australia captain Ricky Ponting's wicket, no manner of dismissal more unlikely or gratifying than snagging him for a golden duck.
It wasn't meant to be like this for Punter. This is his 150th Test match, a landmark only reached before by Sachin Tendulkar and two legendary Aussie captains of the past, Steve Waugh and Allan Border.
In all of the preceding 149 matches and 253 innings, he's only fallen first ball four times. But a firm-handed push at a full one with just a hint of swing from James Anderson, a thick edge through to Graeme Swann at second slip and he was marching on his way, bat tucked under armpit, eyes staring at the turf in front of his toes.
It was only the third time in history that Australia have been 0-2 in a Test innings, and the first time in more than 60 years. And for the England fans standing 30 deep on the grassy mounds behind Matt Prior, it was about to get even better.
When Michael Clarke got off the mark to make it 1/2, it allowed them to remind the locals through the medium of song that the score mirrored the previous night's World Cup voting - two for England, one for Australia.
And when the stiff-legged Clarke (average at this ground: 102) poked Anderson's seventh ball to exactly the same safe pair of spinner's hands as his skipper - well, let's just say it's a good thing Fifa president Sepp Blatter doesn't listen to Test Match Special.
Watson nearly followed, reprieved after England had referred a marginal lbw shout off Anderson. With the score on just 12, Mike Hussey slapped a difficult caught-and-bowled chance back to the same man and puffed out his lean cheeks with relief when it went straight in and out, and then repeated the tick when a wafty drive landed just shy of Swann at third slip.
Australia could have been five down, Anderson five up. Just as on the third morning in Brisbane, the England fast bowler had been superb - bowling the perfect tempter of a length, finding movement in the air both ways, leaving the batsmen poking and prodding.
Here in Adelaide he at last had some reward. Four years ago he endured a nightmarish tour, sent back to Burnley with series figures of 5-413.
One Test and an innings into this one, he already has more wickets. More than that, he is started to get something of a hold over batsmen who had previously felt the same way about him as David Boon once did about the Qantas drinks trolley.
What has changed? Talking to cricket analyst and TMS summariser Simon Hughes at tea, it's about two things: control and confidence.
When the ball is swinging, Anderson puts it in exactly the right place. When it stops - as it does very quickly on these hard, sun-baked pitches - he gives nothing away for free.
If it's happening for him, he has the faith in his own abilities to keep it going. When it doesn't, there's no panic or straining for the impossible ball.
His grimace when he shelled Hussey told its own tale. From the man most likely to be dropped a week ago, Hussey has been transformed into Australia's dominant force.
Take his 195 in Brisbane and 96 here on Friday out of the equation, and his side would be in a far more precarious position. As at the Gabba his footwork was a tippy-tap delight, his driving crisp and punishing, the noise of ball off the middle of his bat the sweetest of meaty pings.
When Swann had him bagged at slip by Collingwood, the England celebrations told their own tale. For Swann it felt like the first big blow has landed in this series, after a below-par first Test and a hot and frustrating afternoon; for Hussey it was another heartbreaker, the third time he had been dismissed in the 90s in Tests and a near-exact repeat of what happened here four years ago.
It was a wonderful first day for England in front of a record crowd of 38,500, not only a fine performance with the ball but almost faultless in the field.
To put it all into context, this was Australia's lowest total batting first in Adelaide since 1912, the first time they've been dismissed for less than 300 in the first innings here since they were skittled by a great West Indian side in 1993.
The par score on this pitch, from pundits ranging from Michael Vaughan on TMS to Damien Fleming on ABC, was thought to be at least 400.
A word of historical warning. After Australia's previous worst ever start against England, when Trevor Bailey and Alec Bedser had them 0-3 in the second innings at Brisbane in 1950, they went on to win the match by 70 runs.
England haven't lost the toss and won in Adelaide in 55 years, Australia have lost just one of the last 15 Tests here. And no-one who watched it will ever forget the way England followed a similarly perfect start here in 2006 with that calamitous last-day collapse.
But with two days of 35C sunshine to come and a pitch that appears tailor-made for all-day batting, England now have a marvellous chance to take this series by the scruff of the neck.