Shane Watson scored his first Test match century in almost three years as Australia reached 307-4 on day one of the final Ashes encounter, ensuring the tourists secured an early advantage at The Oval.
Watson, batting at No.3 in the place of Usman Khawaja, notched only his third Test hundred - and his maiden in the Ashes - as he bullied the England attack, particularly in the morning session.
Australia won the toss and chose to bat on a dry looking wicket, but David Warner was unable to make the most of the favourable conditions as he was dismissed for just six by James Anderson.
The wicket prompted Watson's arrival at the crease and, after seeing off the threat of Anderson and new ball partner Stuart Broad, got stuck into the bowling of England debutants Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan.
Young Lancastrian Kerrigan took the brunt of the Watson onslaught as his first two overs were crashed for 28 runs, as the Aussie batsman streaked to an unbeaten 80 - at less than a run-a-ball - before lunch.
Chris Rogers, playing the anchor role along his free-flowing counterpart, was ousted shortly after the interval by Graeme Swann, with the wicket taking him past Jim Laker's mark for the most wickets by and England spinner in an Ashes series.
Anderson soon reached a landmark of his own as the wicket of Michael Clarke - bowled off his pad for seven - moved the seamer into outright second place in England's all-time Test wicket takers, with 326.
But the day belonged to Watson, who was given reprieves via a dropped catch by Alastair Cook and a successful lbw review, with the all-rounder posting his highest score in Test cricket, and his first ton since October 2010.
He eventually fell for an imperious 176 when he was caught wonderfully by a tumbling Kevin Pietersen on the boundary when trying to hook Stuart Broad, but his innings ensured the foundations were laid for a huge first-innings score.