Three English batsmen made half-centuries to help the tourists reach 266 for three at the close on the first day after winning the toss and having first use of Australia's friendliest batting pitch.
Collingwood followed up his 96 in Brisbane with an unbeaten 98 over four and a half hours and Kevin Pietersen finished the day on 60 after making 92 in the first Test.
Ian Bell also chalked up his second half-century of the series with a carefully crafted 60 to help steady the England innings after openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook departed cheaply before lunch.
Strauss went for 14 when he miscued an attempted flick off Stuart Clark and spooned the ball straight to Damien Martyn at mid-on, who took the catch diving forward.
Clark also got rid of Cook for 27 when the left-handed batsmen tried to drive a ball that was angled across his body and got a faint edge to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.
England looked in trouble at 45 for two but Bell and Collingwood came to the rescue with a patient third-wicket partnership of 113 in front of a packed crowd of 31,458, the biggest at an Adelaide Test for three decades.
The pair took the total to 58 for two by lunch and batted watchfully through the entire middle session, both reaching their fifties with singles off Shane Warne in the last over before tea.
Bell threw his wicket away shortly after tea when he skied an attempted hook off express paceman Brett Lee, who safely took the catch, but not before he had helped lay the platform for a respectable total.
Collingwood continued his safety-first approach in the last session to finish the day within sight of his first Ashes ton after falling agonisingly short last week.
The 30-year-old missed his hundred in Brisbane when he danced down the pitch to Warne and was stumped by Gilchrist but there was no rush of blood of this time.
He took two runs off the penultimate over but did not face another ball until the final delivery of the day from Lee which he carefully defended.
Pietersen was easily the most aggressive of the English batsmen, smashing five fours and a six, reaching his half-century off 69 balls.
England won back the Ashes last year for the first time since 1989.