England's understudy pace attack drew a blank in the first hour at Edgbaston after the third Investec Test finally got under way on the third morning.
After two successive washouts, England captain Andrew Strauss unsurprisingly chose to bowl under cloudy skies - allowing Graham Onions, Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan an early push for West Indies wickets.
The tourists were unable to call on lynchpin batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul because of a side strain, but if that made them look more vulnerable than ever, they achieved what they previously have not in this series - reaching the first set of drinks unscathed, on 31 for none.
England's three seamers - Stuart Broad and James Anderson were both rested for this game - operated mostly at a full length.
Both Adrian Barath and Kieran Powell accepted early opportunities to drive, but the left-hander twice missed inswingers from Bresnan which tailed in perilously close to off-stump.
Barath had made just four when Onions, back in Test cricket for the first time since January 2010 after his career-threatening injury, should have been in the wickets column in just his second over.
Instead, Ian Bell - in at third slip for this match in the absence of Anderson - missed a straightforward chance.
A run of four maidens followed, including Finn's first over after replacing Onions and allowing the latter to switch to the city end.
Onions' hopes of a comeback wicket were duly raised and dashed again when Barath left another straight one and was hit on the pad. The lbw appeal was turned down by Tony Hill, and England lost a review too as Hawkeye demonstrated the ball was only clipping the bails.