Joe Root plundered a superb century to defy Australia as England recovered from a poor start to post 343 for seven on the first day of the first Ashes Test.
A fluent and counter-attacking Root, dropped before he had scored, hit 134 with Gary Ballance (61) and Ben Stokes (52) making solid contributions.
Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc took three wickets apiece for Australia with the late dismissal of Jos Buttler leaving the game evenly poised.
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England were wobbling at 43-3 when Root came to the crease on an overcast and chilly morning in the Welsh capital but he made the most of a second-ball reprieve after he was spilled by wicket-keeper Brad Haddin.
England did not lose a wicket in the afternoon session as Root prospered and Ballance scratched around to share a fourth wicket stand of 153 at Sophia Gardens, where England dug in for a memorable draw in 2009 - the first Ashes Test at the ground.
Ballance was trapped in front by Hazlewood and Starc ended Root's 166-ball stay when he induced an edge to first slip.
Ben Stokes continued the assault before Starc bowled him, the paceman celebrating with a finger-to-lips send off for the departing batsman.
Moeen Ali (26) and Stuart Broad (zero) will resume on Thursday.
England 343-7 (Root 134, Hazlewood 3-70)