Craig Overton made Australia captain Steve Smith his maiden Test match victim but England could not drive home their advantage under the Adelaide lights and the host finished the first day of day-night Ashes cricket on 209 runs for the loss of four wickets Saturday.
It was the story of the day for the tourist after captain Joe Root had won the toss and sent the Australians in to bat under ashen skies only for his bowlers to fail to make the breakthroughs the decision demanded.
Peter Handscomb, who was 36 not out, and Shaun Marsh, unbeaten on 20, batted out the remainder of a tense final session and will resume on day two as Australia look to build on their thumping 10-wicket victory in the opener at the Gabba.
Australia survived the rain-disrupted first session with all 10 wickets intact and openers Cameron Bancroft, run out for 10, and David Warner, caught behind for 47, departed in an extended second.
England struck straight after the second break to remove Usman Khawaja for 53, leaving Smith, whose unbeaten 141 was the difference between the sides in Brisbane, to again carry the burden.
With what sun there had been long gone and the Adelaide Oval bathed in the bright artificial light, though, Overton found the perfect length with an off-cutter and Smith played on for 40 - his bails flashing red as they flew into the night air.
The crowd of 55,317 was a record for cricket at the ground, bettering the 50,962 that packed into the ground for the second day of the 1933 "Bodyline" Test.
Although relation between the sides have not yet approached the low of that series, there were plenty of words exchanged in the middle and umpire Aleem Dar at one stage felt the need to step between Smith and England's James Anderson.
Anderson's verbal aggression was reflected in his bowling in the final session when he had Khawaja caught by James Vince at gully but he and fellow pace spearhead Stuart Broad will be disappointed with their earlier contribution.
It was Chris Woakes who ended more than 80 overs over the last two Tests without a wicket for an England bowler when he lured Warner into a thick edge that Jonny Bairstow swallowed up behind the stumps.
The seamer should have had his second wicket before the end of the second session but Mark Stoneman dropped a Khawaja top edge at deep backward square and the left-hander had time to bring up his ninth half century with a crisp four.
209/4 in 81 overs (Khawaja 53, Warner 47)