Recalled Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood claimed two early wickets but Rory Burns and Joe Denly saw England through to lunch without further damage being done on day two of the second Ashes Test.
Tim Paine put England in at Lord's after winning the toss and Hazlewood was outstanding with the new ball, making up for lost time by taking 2-14 from 10 overs after day one was washed out.
Hazlewood, replacing the rested James Pattinson, dismissed Jason Roy without scoring and reduced England to 26-2 when he got rid of home captain Joe Root (14).
First-Test centurion Burns was 34 not out at the end of the morning session after being dropped by Usman Khawaja on 16 and Denly was set to come out after lunch unbeaten on 27, with England 76-2 on a good pitch.
Jofra Archer and Jack Leach replaced James Anderson (calf) and the dropped Moeen Ali in the England side on a day which saw the iconic ground adopt a red theme in aid of the Ruth Strauss Foundation, honouring former England captain Andrew Strauss' late wife.
Limited-overs specialist Roy was again unable to prove his credentials in the longest format, nibbling behind off the third ball he faced from the problng Hazlewood after playing and missing twice.
Hazlewood and Pat Cummins gave nothing away and generated plenty of movement off the seam, but Root broke the shackles with glorious back-to-back cover drives off the latter.
Burns capitalised on a wayward first over from Peter Siddle by scoring boundaries on both sides of the wicket before Hazlewood trapped Root leg before with an excellent delivery, which nipped back in.
Denly was rattled on the helmet when attempting to hook a sharp ball from Hazlewood, and survived when Australia called for a review when he was struck on the pad by Nathan Lyon after Khawaja put Burns down in the gully.
Australia were unable to make further inroads and Burns brought up the 50 stand in the last over before lunch by driving Cummins for his fifth boundary, with Denly finding the ropes on four occasions.