Australia will be seeking payback during the return Ashes series after Steve Smith's maiden century gave his team the upper hand during the fifth Test.
Smith, who brought up his ton with a towering six from the bowling of part-timer Jonathan Trott, was 138 not out when the innings was closed at 9-492.
The declaration was timed to prevent James Anderson claiming five wickets and followed an hour when England managed to bowl just 11 overs as the Australian tail clouted nearly 100 runs.
England openers Alastair Cook and Joe Root resumed yesterday morning at 0-32 on what was likely to be the best batting day of the match.
Nearly three hours were lost to constant rain on the second day, but the sun was out at The Oval yesterday and the pitch appeared to be at its best for batting.
Smith said Australia had gradually found enough momentum to be confident of success at home this summer.
"The series hasn't gone quite to plan but we are improving and come the summer at home hopefully we can have some payback," Smith said.
Momentum in the series has swung back to Australia after England's selection experiment backfired spectacularly, with pace bowler Chris Woakes and hapless left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan put to the sword.
Kerrigan, who was savaged by centurion Shane Watson before lunch on Wednesday, was not trusted with the ball at any stage on day two as Smith built a series of bright stands with the tail in a sign of his growing maturity and importance to a batting line-up that is still to be bedded down.
However, Graeme Swann's two wickets made him just the fourth England off-spinner to claim 25 in a series.
And England's go-slow approach on the second evening provided Australia with considerable proof that the home team has given up its bid to win the series 4-0.
It was the second occasion this series that the hosts have raised eyebrows with their over rate.
England were more than a little tardy bowling in the second innings of the third Test at Old Trafford as Australia assumed control courtesy of captain Michael Clarke's superb 187 in the first innings.
Australia appear to be the only possible winner of the Test, though England bowling coach David Saker, a former Victorian paceman, said it was too early to write off his team.
"You never know, Simon Kerrigan could bowl us to victory on the last day," Saker said.
"We still believe we can win the match from where we sit.
"We're going to go out and try to put on a big score.
"They're in a strong position and batted well for two days, but if we can bat well enough for long enough, the game is still on.
"They are desperate to win, we're desperate to win 4-0, so both captains want a win.
"It could easily be a result.
"What's been really good for me in this series is that when crucial parts of games have come up we've been the better team.
"That's happened in nearly every Test match."
Australia are eager to finish strongly so they have the initiative when the first match of the return series starts at the Gabba in three months.
Only four winners at The Oval in the past century have gone on to victory in the first Test of the following series in Australia though there are special circumstances this year because of the back-to-back contests.
The most applicable parallel came from 1972 when a resurgent Australia with a new generation of rising stars won at The Oval and were at their peak two years later when they hammered England 4-1 at home.
" we are improving and come the summer at home hopefully we can have some payback." " *Steve Smith *