In the first over Stuart Broad produced a beauty to snare Tom Latham. And for much of the morning it felt like England had the ability to run through the Kiwis. At 83 for four they were living up to pre-game odds of 2.206/5.
What was curious about the England charge was, Broad's pearler aside, that it was provided impetus entirely by shaky New Zealand batting. The batters made mistakes, rather than being forced into them. There was an absence of seam and swing in line with the old Headingley maxim: look up. The sun was out so there was not much doing for the bowlers.
At the close, New Zealand's 225 for five was a strong recovery, although it is hard not to reckon they have underperformed. When the new ball arrived in the final session, England barely got a sniff. There was only a hint of shape for Broad and Matt Potts. Jamie Overton, on debut, was rapid but erratic.
There's not been a huge shift in the match odds. England are 2.942/1, New Zealand 3.259/4 and the draw 2.789/5. The latter is shortening. Bet the match odds here.
Daryl Mitchell was once again unmovable. He is 78 not out. Tom Blundell is 45 not out. Mitchell, a run machine this series, has runs available at over/under 110.5 at 10/11. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.
This looks like another belter of a batting pitch. Following on from the road that was Trent Bridge, we may well be right to anticipate another thrilling chase in the fourth innings.
The surface is pleasing on the eye. It has a white sheen, there is no grass and it is flat. The only possible boost for bowlers might be some reverse swing as the match wears on. There is a hint of abrasiveness but we're aware we're looking at it from a TV screen.
There have been three draws in the County Championship this season out of three. And were it not for England's new gung-ho nature, we might be forgiven for worrying about the prospect of stalemate.
Short analysis of those matches back up the nature of the wicket. The second-innings scores (first-innings score) in the games read: 449(244)/379/571(291). That backs up the historic Test data that shows Headingley as a surface which just gets better and better to bat on.
Exchange prices of 1.9110/11 and 2.021/1 for England to score more than 350 and 375 respectively have solid appeal as a result. Bet England's runs here. New Zealand's runs are available at 362.5 at 10/11 with Sportsbook. It could be they produce something on day two more in keeping with the benign surface, particularly as Ben Stokes doesn't appear to be fit to bowl.
Top England bat wins/matches last 3 years
Sportsbook have boosted Joe Root to 21/10 for top-bat honours in the first dig. On win rates, it is not a wager but it could hardly be considered bad value if we are right about the state of the pitch.
There are other options in-play. There should be prices available for Root to make a fifty while his innings runs are likely to be pitched from 37.5 or 38.5. Root notched a big tom in the Roses match at Headingley earlier this summer.
On his home ground in Tests, Root has four scores of more than 50 in his last six innings. In the last 12 months at all venues, he has 11 fifties in 27 innings. It's the same ratio for scores of more than 38.5.
There is 0.5% of an edge on win rate versus Sportsbook's implied probability for Ollie Pope at 7/2. But punters may find it tough to take that he was as big as 6s only a game ago. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.