England yet again ran into the resistance of Brad Haddin as Australia recovered from a faltering start to race to a teatime 201 for five on day one of the final Test at the SCG.
It has been a recurring theme of this winter's Ashes mis-match for the hosts to hint at first-innings vulnerability, before Haddin comes to their rescue at number seven.
So it was here, as England seek to avoid a whitewash, that the tourists' pace attack reduced Australia to 97 for five after Alastair Cook had won his first toss of the series.
If English supporters' hopes were raised, they perhaps should have known better - with Haddin (59no) in next.
Australia's veteran wicketkeeper-batsman was right on cue as well, passing 50 for the sixth time - with a full house in each first innings.
He and Steve Smith had an unbroken stand of 104 under their belts in under a session, Haddin's 70-ball half-century containing several of his favourite pulls among his eight boundaries.
England, who picked three debutants for the first time in more than eight years, were minus the services of one by teatime - tall fast bowler Boyd Rankin having limped out of the attack mid-over with an apparent hamstring injury at the start of his third spell.
Another, Scott Borthwick, was hauled off after his first three overs of leg-spin cost 21 runs against Haddin and Smith in full cry.
It had all been going so well for England - as was the case, of course, in at least three previous Tests before Haddin broke their hearts.
Ben Stokes struck twice, and Stuart Broad and James Anderson once each, in the morning after Cook gambled on initial cloud cover to help his seamers cash in on a green tinge in the pitch.
Broad then saw off George Bailey cheaply just after lunch, the height of what was to prove another false dawn.
It began, with a hint of swing and useful bounce for all, when Broad first of all eliminated the prolific David Warner; then Stokes doubled up with Chris Rogers and Australia captain Michael Clarke, before Shane Watson fell to Anderson and the final ball of a hectic morning.
Broad was threatening wickets from the outset, while Anderson bowled a more conservative length with the new ball from the Paddington End.
Warner had just taken three fours from Broad's previous over, and passed 500 runs for the series, when he paid little respect to a decent delivery which beat a flaky shot and hit the top of off stump.
Rogers also picked the wrong length against Stokes, and under-edged a pull via his pads on to the base of leg-stump.
Next, Stokes got Clarke with a delivery that kicked from just short of a good length to have him edging to Ian Bell at second slip.
Watson had got under way by driving his first delivery from Broad through extra-cover for four, and soon clicked into similar mode against Stokes.
But Anderson returned to have the counter-attacking number three lbw, playing round his front pad, an echo of last summer - back when England had Australia just where they wanted them.
It seemed they did again at last when Bailey ended a brief and unimpressive stay by edging Broad to a juggling Cook at slip.
But Haddin, and Smith, had other ideas.