Chris Woakes took six of the nine Cricket Australia XI wickets to fall on day one of England’s final tour match ahead of next week’s Ashes opener.
The bowling all-rounder looks to have found his best form just in time for the Brisbane Test and, having taken 4-17 in the second innings in Adelaide, ended the day with figures of 6-54 in Townsville.
Craig Overton also claimed another two wickets as he looks to secure the fourth seam berth at the Gabba with the Cricket Australia XI reaching 249-9 at stumps, captain Matt Short the only batsman to pass fifty.
That came after Short had won the toss and opted to bat first, a decision that looked justified as CA XI advanced to 66 without loss in the morning session.
However, Woakes struck with the first ball of his second spell and proceeded to take a further three wickets in his next three overs, either side of lunch, to leave CA XI 91-4.
The third of those scalps was caught behind by Ben Foakes, on in place of Jonny Bairstow who gave England another injury scare as he was forced off the field for around 50 minutes after taking a painful blow to a finger on his left hand.
Bairstow was able to return and continue 'keeping - with a team spokesman confirming the finger was bruised rather than broken - and took the catch to remove William Pucovski (20) and give Overton his first wicket.
Woakes completed his five-for shortly before Overton got rid of Short (51) and the former returned to the attack to bowl Simon Milenko with the first delivery with the new ball.
Stuart Broad picked up the ninth wicket shortly before the close but England were unable to take the final wicket in the 4.5 overs that remained.
They will return on day two hoping to wrap up the CA XI innings quickly before the focus turns to a batting line-up still looking for its first century of the tour.
"With Ben [Stokes] being away, it means all of us have got to step up. I hope I can do that - score runs and take wickets. That's my plan and and I feel like I'm building well into the Test series.
"All the numbers are saying that I'm getting close to being 'cooked'. I'm pleased with where I'm at - a week away from the first Test, it's always nice to hit a bit of form.
"As a bowling unit, we feel like we've gone really well. We want to continue to work on plans we might be taking into the Test series and hope to bring about some confidence.
"I don't think we were ever too worried [about Bairstow]. I actually didn't go down and see how he was which was pretty bad from me! The fact he came back out means that, fingers crossed, there's nothing to worry about."