CNN) -- Australian paceman Peter Siddle took six wickets including a hat-trick as England were skittled for 260 on the first day of the Ashes series at the Gabba in Brisbane.
The home side were 25 without loss in reply at the close with Simon Katich 15 not out and Shane Watson on nine, the openers having survived a testing half hour to round off a superb day for Ricky Ponting's men.
But it was the heroics of birthday boy Siddle, 26 today, which put them in a strong position with his hat-trick the 11th by an Australian in Test cricket history.
England were 197 for four wickets when he struck, removing Alastair Cook for 67 then Matt Prior and Stuart Broad for ducks in successive balls.
"It was amazing, but I hope it's just the start of a great series for us. I was just trying to bowl fast, pitch it up and get it straight and they were three good players to get out," Siddle told Sky Sports.
"It's a good list to join, Australian hat-tricks in Test cricket."
A battling 76 by Ian Bell until he was the ninth man out to Test debutant Xavier Doherty lifted England to some respectability.
Journeyman left-arm spinner Doherty, a surprise inclusion in the Australian team, wrapped up the England innings in the same over as he bowled James Anderson to finish with two wickets for 41.
England had begun their previous series in Australia, which resulted in a 5-0 thrashing, in disastrous fashion with paceman Steve Harmison's well-chronicled wide.
This time around, it was scarcely better as captain Andrew Strauss was dismissed for a duck to the third ball of the morning, edging Ben Hilfenhaus to Mike Hussey at gully.
Cook and Jonathan Trott set about repairing the damage on a wicket with a green tinge and helpful to the bowlers, but with the score on 41, all-rounder Watson bowled Trott for 29.
Kevin Pietersen played well for his 43, but Siddle accounted for him and Paul Collingwood for just 4 in his second spell as he found the right length to bowl on the slow surface.
Bell and Cook looked to be lifting England into a strong position, but Siddle, returning again to the fray, then struck in devastating fashion and also later accounted for Graeme Swann to finish with six wickets for 54.
Bell, who had been in fine form in the warm-up game in Tasmania, continued where he left off, but attempting to up the scoring rate only chipped a Doherty delivery to Watson in the covers.
England, who hold the Ashes having beaten Australia on home soil in 2009, have gone into the series as narrow favorites but will have work to do on the second day of the first Test, if they are to prevent the home side from building up a sizeable first innings lead.