Pinpoint! Nathan Lyon runs out England batsman with sensational piece of fielding

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AAP

Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon stood up for Australia on a slow-moving first day of the Ashes in Brisbane, where Joe Root fell cheaply and England reached 4-196 at stumps.

Root won the toss and watched with glee as a dropped catch, 95-minute rain delay and 125-run partnership between James Vince and Mark Stoneman frustrated the hosts.

England were sitting pretty at 1-127 when Cummins removed Stoneman in the final over before tea, kissing the top of middle stump with a cracking delivery.

Root survived the remaining four deliveries of the session then started an intriguing battle with Lyon.

Lyon, who came on after just 17 overs because the Gabba pitch offered his pace colleagues little assistance, bowled with great control and was arguably Australia's most-potent threat.

Root appeared rattled and attempted an ungainly reverse-sweep on 15.

The captain survived that misstep but was trapped lbw on the same score by Cummins, with Steve Smith successfully reviewing Marais Erasmus' not-out verdict.

Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali, who swept Lyon for the only six of the innings, batted out the day to leave the first Test evenly placed.

There were 1.3 overs remaining when bad light ended play, much to the disgust of Smith who had just taken the second new ball.

Australia will be happy with the opposition's run-rate on what Triple M commentator Mark Waugh had termed the flattest day-one Gabba deck he had seen.

England will be happy with Vince and Stoneman's handling of the pace attack that had dominated discussion in the lead-up to the five-Test series.

Vince scored 83 and looked on track for a maiden Test ton before nudging the ball to the off side, where Lyon pounced on it and threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end.

Lyon should have dismissed Vince on 68 but recalled keeper Tim Paine put down the catch.

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