Shane Watson blasted a remarkable knock of 176 on the first day of the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval as Australia took charge.
Batting at No.3 having sat down the order at Durham, the 31-year-old finally came good on a glorious day in London having faced a great deal of criticism for his performances thus far throughout the summer.
It meant the tourists finished on 307/4 at stumps leaving England with much to do on Thursday morning.
The hosts will take heart and encouragement however from the fact that Watson will not be returning to the crease having been caught late in the day by Kevin Pietersen off a Stuart Broad delivery.
Such did little to spoil Watson’s day nevertheless who will be overjoyed with his contribution, which looks to have set Australia well on the way towards a consolation victory in the series which they trail 3-0.
Steven Smith also aided the cause, wading in with an unbeaten 66 and he will return to the middle on Thursday alongside Peter Siddle who impressed up the order with his cameo of 18no.
Jimmy Anderson fared best of the England bowlers taking 2-52 – Michael Clarke and David Warner the victims both for single figures.
And Swann’s dismissal of Chris Rogers for 23 at least ensured that England will be nearing the tail-end of Australia’s line-up when play resumes tomorrow.
The tourists will feel they are in control however after a fine day’s work which did much to restore some Aussie pride following a miserable few weeks on British soil.
The series may well be over, but the fifth Test proved anything but a dead rubber throughout the opening day and fans can definitely anticipate an exciting few days of cricket still to come.