Odd couple Shane Watson and Chris Rogers are one of Australia's most productive recent pairings and they lived up to the billing with a century stand to give their team early control of the fifth Test at The Oval yesterday.
Watson charged to a century off 114 deliveries on day one, the third ton of his 46-Test career with a demolition job against England debutants Simon Kerrigan and Chris Woakes.
His only stumble came at 91 when he was felled by a Stuart Broad bouncer that got under his helmet to strike him on the left side of the head.
But Watson's blazing innings may not have been possible without the support he received from the calm and measured left-hander at the other end.
Rogers soaked up 100 deliveries and remained the perfect foil to his aggressive partner as Australia exploited the first opportunity on the fine batting strip.
He survived a tight lbw appeal in Broad's first over - and would have been given out on the replay if England had reviewed - but barely played another false stroke until he fell to Graeme Swann for a painstaking 23.
Michael Clarke (7) was bowled by Jimmy Anderson before Steve Smith (0 not out) saw Watson (102 not out) to three figures and Australia to 3-148 off 45 overs.
Rogers and Watson started the series as Australia's preferred openers, were reunited during a splendid century stand in the middle order at Chester-le-Street and put on 107 yesterday.
It was the first time in the series Australia used their four best batsmen at the top of the order and they were rewarded with a strong foundation for the substantial innings required to shape the match.
Watson made an extraordinary start to his innings and was on track for a century before lunch as he carved Woakes and Kerrigan to all parts of The Oval.
Woakes replaced the injured Tim Bresnan but was withdrawn from the attack after 30 runs from his first five overs.
Kerrigan received even harsher punishment from Watson.
The left-arm orthodox spinner joined Swann in the attack as England used two spinners at home for the first time since the Ashes Test in Cardiff four years ago.
Kerrigan was innocuous for the England Lions in Northampton last week where Watson gave him a taste of the punishment that was to come.
Kerrigan's first over went for 10 but his second gave up four boundaries and 18 runs as Watson repeatedly thumped his moderate offerings to the midwicket fence.
Watson's return to No.3 meant he has batted in every position in the top order in the past six Tests while his century was Australia's first at first drop since Shaun Marsh's debut in 2011.
Australia's positive batting dragged the spotlight away from coach Darren Lehmann who produced an incendiary start to the match by accusing Broad of being a cheat.
In comments that are sure to be assessed by the International Cricket Council under its code of conduct, Lehmann said Broad's failure to walk in the first Test at Trent Bridge after edging to slip was "blatant cheating".
It is likely to lead to a charge for "serious public criticism of a match-related incident" which could see Lehmann suspended for the opening two Twenty20 matches next week.
Lehmann urged Australian crowds to make life so tough for Broad this summer that "he cries and goes home".
"Our players are calling him everything under the sun as they go past so I would hope the Australian public are the same because that was just blatant cheating," Lehmann said.
"I don't advocate walking but to hit it to first slip is pretty bad."I hope the Australian public gives it to him all summer. I hope he cries and goes home."