Joe Root lit up Edgbaston with his 13th Test century as he and Alastair Cook proved England's bankable constants in an ever-changing world.
The hosts needed their two perennials to deliver after debutant Mark Stoneman and then novice number three Tom Westley mustered just eight runs each in this inaugural day-night Test against West Indies - and they duly did so in an unbroken stand of 176 as England reached 215 for two.
Cook (85 not out) led the way initially at this venue where he hit a career-best 294 six years ago, England's all-time leading runscorer clocking up his 56th Test half-century.
Root (103no) then followed him to that milestone and in doing so brought up a new national landmark of his own by posting at least a 50 in a record 11th successive match.
Their alliance, prompt vindication of Root's decision to bat first in this opening match of three, also bore out a raft of pre-match predictions as the pink ball moved in increasingly unerring straight lines for a visiting attack able to pose few problems.
The teatime prosperity was far removed, however, from an uncertain start which saw two more Ashes contenders out of this particular equation within eight overs.
Stoneman's maiden international innings was eventful, as well as brief.
He was on strike under sunny skies for the second delivery of the match, after Cook pushed the first with the pink ball to cover for a single off Kemar Roach.
The first Stoneman then received from Roach was the widest of wides, intercepted only by second slip.
From only the second legitimate ball he faced, Stoneman timed a cover-drive for four - and then counted another boundary in the opening over with a confident clip off his legs.
His fun was interrupted, however, when Roach produced an outstanding delivery in his second over - one that offered to swing back into the left-hander at pace but then held its line to scrape the pad and take the off-bail.
Welcome to Test cricket then for the 12th opener England have selected alongside Cook over the past five years.
The reception at the top table is beginning to wear off for Westley, following his inconclusive succession of middling scores so far - the latest his least productive to date after he played across and missed a straight ball to be lbw to first-change Miguel Cummins on DRS.
The new ball swung a little through the first hour but with no lateral movement off a flat pitch Cook and Root were rarely troubled for the next 47 overs
Cook completed his 74-ball 50 on the stroke of lunch with a single to cover off Roston Chase to add to his 10 of England's 22 fours at that point.
The boundary count remained high throughout a wicketless afternoon ruled by Cook and Root - who reached his half-century with a rare edge wide of second slip off his opposite number Jason Holder and then his 139-ball hundred when he hit his 19th four behind square on the leg-side off Chase.