The allrounder's first half-century since October bettered his 93-run exertion against Zimbabwe last August, helping Australia recuperate from a poor begin with the assistance of Mitch Marsh (60 off 67).
England skipper Eoin Morgan's choice to bowl first was vindicated third wad of the innings when Anderson's ideal outswinger was edged by Aaron Finch to Joe Root from the start slip for a duck.
A whirlwind of fresh limits from Steve Smith and David Warner may have had England supposing it was Groundhog Day, yet Anderson struck again to release the last for 12 at point to have Australia 2-33.
Australia: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith, George Bailey (c), Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood. England: Ian Bell, Moeen Ali, James Taylor, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steven Finn.