Steve Smith and Brad Haddin ensured the opening day of the fifth Ashes Test followed a familiar script, Australia recovering from 97-5 to 326 all out on a tricky pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
England - who fielded a new-look starting XI including debuts for Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin - closed on 8-1 in reply, losing Michael Carberry for a duck late in the day during a fiery Mitchell Johnson spell.
Smith top scored with 115, his second century of the series, and put on 128 with Haddin for the sixth wicket as Australia moved towards a 5-0 whitewash despite Ben Stokes finishing with 6-99, his maiden Test five-wicket haul.
Haddin's counter-attacking 75 led the initial recovery, the latest in a succession of rescue acts the veteran wicketkeeper has been involved in during the series.
He has now scored 465 runs in seven innings, including previous first-innings scores of 94, 118, 55 and 65, although England's bowlers were again guilty of feeding him short balls to pull.
England's cause was not helped by a problem for Rankin, initially thought to be a hamstring injury but later confirmed as cramp, that restricted him to 8.2 overs before he limped off for the second time during the evening session.
Borthwick's leg-spin disappeared for 49 runs from seven overs, although he at least had a maiden wicket - that of Mitchell Johnson slogging to long-on - to show for his toil.
England's three newcomers meant spinner Monty Panesar and two Yorkshiremen - seamer Tim Bresnan and batsman Joe Root - were dropped from the team beaten at the MCG.
The tourists, who have now used 18 players over the five Tests, removed David Warner, Chris Rogers, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson in overcast conditions during the morning session after Alastair Cook won the toss for the first time in the series.
Opening batsman Warner reeled off three early boundaries against Stuart Broad to take his run tally for the series beyond 500.
Broad gained revenge in the sixth over of the day, bowling the left-hander for 16 with a delivery that swung in and then seamed away to expose a lack of foot movement.
Rogers (11) pulled a short ball from Stokes between his legs and onto his stumps via a bottom edge and Clarke never looked comfortable against a short barrage before edging the same bowler to Ian Bell at second slip for 10.
And England struck again in the final over of the session to leave Australia on 94-4 at lunch; James Anderson veering an inswinger into the stationary target of Watson's front pad and the batsman - whose 43 came from 59 balls and featured seven fours - was on his way lbw.
George Bailey (1) poked to slip, where Cook juggled and held on to give Broad his second wicket shortly after the break - but the sun then came out and England hit a roadblock they had seen before.
Haddin was the aggressor as Australia batted through to tea at 201-5, England's cause hampered by Rankin's injury.
Stokes denied Haddin a century by having him held by Cook from a flat-footed drive in the fourth over of the evening session, only for Smith to then step up and see Australia beyond 300 amid a flurry of flamboyant strokes.
Smith went to his third Test hundred, all made against England, from 142 balls - including 16 fours and a six - before being last out to the persevering Stokes, one of three wickets in an over for the Durham all-rounder.
That left England just under half-an-hour to bat, long enough for Johnson to make Carberry his 32nd wicket of the series, Nathan Lyon taking a sharp catch at leg-slip.
Nightwatchman Anderson (1no) will resume alongside Cook (7no) on day two with England 318 behind.
You can watch day two of the fifth and final Ashes Test tonight on Sky Sports 2HD, starting at 11pm