Steve Smith can thank Graeme Swann for the break-through century that announced his belated arrival as a Test batsman of considerable substance.
Smith had fortune - and right-handedness - on his side when he survived the selectors' axe to be retained in the fifth Test team.
And he was certainly fortunate that his airy first-ball swish at James Anderson did not provide a catch to the England cordon and a humiliating golden duck.
Even the delivery that brought up his maiden Test century was clothed in golden fortune as he heaved Jonathan Trott high over the long-on boundary at The Oval yesterday.
It was the most brilliant moment in a career that has teased and tantalised while only sketching its capacity for fulfilment.
Yet the muted celebrations that followed the six spoke more of Smith's relief at reaching the milestone after getting so near at Mohali and Old Trafford this year.
Smith remained 138 not out when Michael Clarke finally declared with his team at 9-492 on a day in which three hours were lost to rain and England appeared a wan shadow of the team leading the Ashes series 3-0.
Barnstorming stands in the second half of the innings saw Smith add 31 with Peter Siddle (23), 65 with Brad Haddin (30), 37 in a hurry with debutant James Faulkner (23) and 45 with Ryan Harris (33).
Clarke's declaration was designed to leave his team 23 overs to bowl at England but the sun came out and the ball behaved itself for the first time in the day as Alastair Cook, 17, and Joe Root, 13, steered their team to 0-32 when bad light stopped play.
Only one team can win the match after Smith produced the most mature performance of his 12-match career.
He had a poor match at Chester-le-Street where he dropped a sitter in the outfield and played the most ill-conceived hoick at Stuart Broad during Australia's rapid second innings decline.
It appeared possible, likely even, that he would be cut for The Oval but there was one factor not taken into account.
Swann has been a hoodoo figure for Australia's left-handers throughout the series. He prised open Chris Rogers' defences five times before dismissing him again at The Oval, befuddled Usman Khawaja four times and twice snared Phil Hughes.
Left-handers fell to the off-spinner 14 times during the first four Tests so the Australian selectors planned to hamstring Swann at The Oval by packing the top and middle order with right-handers.
Seven were in place between the openers and No.9 Mitchell Starc to provide a stark contrast to Lord's where Swann sliced through the three left-handers employed in the top four on the way to a nine-wicket haul.
That requirement underpinned the selection of Faulkner, who while essentially a seam-bowling all-rounder, is sufficiently capable with the bat to stiffen the lower order.
Shane Watson set up the innings with his first day century but Smith enabled Australia to take control of the match as he ebbed and flowed between stout defence and the sort of flourishing attack that saw boundaries flow and danger men Swann, Broad and James Anderson negated. He started the second day at The Oval on 66 not out - his third half-century of the series - but hastened to three figures as England rotated their quicks rather than call up Swann or the broken Simon Kerrigan.
Smith may have been lucky to survive the selection cut when he was retained in the fifth Test team.
And he was certainly fortunate that his airy first-ball swish at Anderson at The Oval did not provide a catch to the England cordon and a humiliating golden duck.
Australia have packed their middle order with right-handers in a bid to combat England off-spinner Graeme Swann - the first leftie after the openers will be Mitchell Starc at No.9 - which enabled Smith to retain his place ahead of Matthew Wade and Phil Hughes.
·Paceman Jackson Bird returned to Australia last night to have a lower back injury assessed and treated.Bird suffered lumbar stress fractures earlier in the year and has reported pain in the same area over the past week.