Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes were attempting to bail out England’s top order as the hosts fought to 201 for six on day two of the second Ashes Test.
Following Wednesday’s washout, Australia captain Tim Paine made the brave decision to bowl first, a gamble that looked to be paying off handsomely when they claimed their sixth wicket with just 138 on the scoreboard.
But Bairstow (36no) and Woakes (25no) halted their charge, putting together an unbroken stand worth 63 at tea, nudging England towards a competitive first-innings total.
The recalled Josh Hazlewood had earlier marked his return with three wickets, while Rory Burns was dropped twice on his way to a hard-working 53.
The day’s play took place in support of the Ruth Strauss Foundation, with both sides donning limited editions caps and shirts to raise funds in honour of former England captain Andrew Strauss’ late wife and the majority of the sold out ground dressed in red.
Strauss and his two sons rang the five-minute bell and led the teams out to the field to a great ovation, but it was back to business as soon as Hazlewood got started.
Australia last inserted the opposition in a Test match in February 2016, when they won back-to-back Tests in New Zealand after choosing to bowl, and the first reward was almost instant.
After Burns blocked out a maiden to start it was Hazlewood versus Jason Roy – a brief, one-sided contest. Roy slashed at his first delivery, played and missed at his second, then nicked one he might have left alone entirely.
That completed another painful outing for Roy, who now has 43 runs in four innings at the top of the order. For Hazlewood, meanwhile, it was the start of an inspired opening blast of two for five in six overs.
Having landed the first blow he followed up with three successive maidens before taking out key man Joe Root. Bowling full and challenging the stumps, he seamed one back in, thumped Root on the knee roll and trapped him in front of leg for 14.
Resetting the innings was not a simple task for Burns, dropped on 16 when Usman Khawaja misjudged at gully, or for Joe Denly, who was clattered on the side of the helmet by a wicked Hazlewood bouncer. But between them the pair dug deep, blunted the bowlers and chiselled out 50 runs before lunch.
At 76 for two England would have been relatively content with their morning’s work, but things veered badly off course in the second session.
Denly sustained a second nasty blow, this time to the forearm, before becoming Hazlewood’s third victim of the day – another teaser nicked outside off – and Siddle had Burns dropped for a second time by Paine on 47.
The left-hander used his reprieve to reach a steely half-century, backing up his maiden ton at Edgbaston with another diligent knock. But hopes of anything more significant were dashed by Bancroft’s superb one-handed take at short-leg, the outstanding culmination to a series of well-aimed bouncers from Cummins.
His exit brought together Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, batting together at Lord’s for the first time since their decisive partnership in the World Cup final.
There would be no heroics from either man this time, Buttler feeling indecisively at Siddle to feed Paine the simplest of catches before Stokes fell lbw sweeping Nathan Lyon.
Bairstow and Woakes both edged just in front of the cordon as Hazlewood tried to press home the advantage but the seventh-wicket pair soon found their timing.
Bairstow collected five boundaries, including a couple of sweet drives and a neat reverse-sweep off Lyon, while Woakes knuckled down with a level of care and attention the specialists might do well to learn from.