England and Australia were in Royal company on a rollercoaster opening day of the second Test at Lord's as Ian Bell continued his rich vein of form before the tourists hit back.
A meet and greet with Her Majesty The Queen delayed the start of play but it did not take long for the drama to unfold as England crashed to 28-3 having won the toss on a perfect batting day.
Bell rescued England with an invaluable century - his third in successive Test matches against the Old Enemy - however Australia edged ahead thanks to three wickets from Steve Smith's part-time leg-spin in the evening session.
Still catching your breath after England closed on 289-7? Here is the best of the action, reaction and opinion.
Bell tolls, Smith strikes
Elegant Warwickshire right-hander Bell played an innings befitting the Home of Cricket to rescue England from a perilous position on day one. Having won the toss, England would have been hopeful of running Australia ragged in the field as temperatures continue to swell in the capital. A crazy 10-ball burst put paid to any such hopes, though, as Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen all came and went. Bell added 99 with Jonathan Trott to steady the ship and 144 with Jonny Bairstow before Smith struck thrice before stumps.
Best of the day
Queensland quick Ryan Harris vindicated his recall with a lively opening burst but Bell, just as he had done at Trent Bridge a few days previously, proved England's rock. Following on from centuries in Sydney and Nottingham, Bell joined Jack Hobbs, Wally Hammond and Chris Broad as the only England players to have scored three successive Ashes hundreds. He stuck 16 boundaries in his innings of 109 total and it took a perfectly pitched leg-break from Smith to cut his innings short. All day one highlights.
Australia could have been in a much stronger position had Bairstow not been handed a huge slice of fortune shortly before tea. With England on 168-4 and Bairstow poised on 21, Australia were celebrating once again when Peter Siddle clean bowled the young Yorkshireman, who was once again undone playing across the line. However, after a quick check with the third umpire, replays showed that the Victorian pace bowler had marginally over stepped with his front foot. Bairstow went on to score 67.
After moving level with Sir Len Hutton on 19 Test centuries for England, Bell admitted after the close of play that there is nowhere he'd rather score runs than the Home of Cricket. He said: "Any time you can get on the (honours) board is special and in an Ashes Test match even more so. Lord's is the best place to play cricket in the world." Bell is in a rich vein of form against the Aussies having made 115 in Sydney in 2010 and 109 at Trent Bridge and Lord's.
Strauss hails Clarke 'masterstroke'
Andrew Strauss believes Michael Clarke's decision to bring Smith into the attack late on day one was a "masterstroke" and has shifted the match drastically in Australia's favour. Smith, introduced into the attack in the 77th over of the day, snared key England trio Bell, Bairstow and Prior to end the day with figures of 3-18 from six overs. "Perhaps England weren't expecting Smith to bowl and that's what did for them, but he produced a beauty to get rid of Bell and while Bairstow's was a full toss, a really good quicker ball got rid of Prior," Strauss said.
Nasser is predicting another "cracker of a Test match" after the balance of power shifted this way and that on the first day at Lord's. Basking in the sunshine (when not in the air conditioned commentary box) Nasser lavished praise on the brilliance of Bell and the tactical astuteness of Australia skipper Clarke. Nasser said: "The weather didn't disappoint at Lord's and the cricket didn't either. Ian Bell looked in good nick, Bairstow was lucky to survive a no-ball...but Clarke's captaincy was exceptional today."
Waugh: Aussies on the up
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh popped into the Sky Cricket studio at tea to chat with former Ashes opponent David Gower. The all-conquering Australia skipper is confident the Baggy Greens are on the way up (despite losing six consecutive Test matches) and believes captain Clarke can lead the current crop of players up to second in the ICC Test rankings.