An uninspiring England stumbled through a disappointing opening day of the fourth Ashes Test at Durham as an impressive Australia took the initiative despite the hosts winning the toss.

Suggestions of a mismatch in competition in this year's series are likely to have been all but washed away after today's showings where the hosts slumped from 107-1 to 238-9 on a woeful first day with the bat with Nathan Lyon claiming four wickets as Jonathan Trott (49), Kevin Pietersen (26), Ian Bell (6) and Johnny Bairstow (14) succumbed the the Australian's disciplined bowling.

In contrast to their lacklustre performances that saw them relinquish their fight for the series in the opening three Tests, Australia operated with a renewed efficiency in the north east.

Skipper Alistair Cook opened alongside Joe Root as the pair mustered a mere 34 runs from 17 overs before the youngest member of the England squad saw his outside edge eagerly picked out by wicket keeper Brad Haddin.

Cook and the newly introduced Jonathan Trott would then enjoy England's most successful spell of the afternoon, as Trott found the boundary with consistency as he approached a half century.

But after clinching 49 the Warwickshire man hit a tame effort was caught by Usman Khawaja off the bowling of the impressive Lyon.

Pietersen hit an early stride upon his introduction, striking four boundaries only to be undone as he nicked another impressive throw from Lyon that was collected by Haddin again.

Pietersen was joined at the pavilion by Cook after Jackson Bird caught the skipper leg before wicket after just clinching a half century.

The normally reliable Bell was dismissed after a meagre six when his poor effort was comfortably caught by Ryan Harris before two quick leg before wicket decisions saw Matt Prior (17) and Jonny Bairstow (14) depart as Peter Siddle claimed his first wicket of the day while Lyon claimed his fourth.

Next with the bat was Stuart Broad, but his drive was eagerly caught by David Warner off the bowling of Harris as the England man struck three from just 12 balls.

After Graeme Swann's (13) short spell with the bat was also ended by the Australian seamer, Jimmy Anderson provided a late show of resilience as he struck three boundaries to finish not out for 12, and will open alongside fellow bowler Tim Bresnan (11) on Saturday.