Shane Watson was ecstatic at the end of the first day after his 176 put Australia in the driving seat of the final Test.
The inconsistent tourists were 307-4 as they battled to salvage some pride in a five-match series they have largely been out-played and trail 3-0.
But Watson was the star at The Oval on Wednesday, putting a disappointing series at the crease behind him with just his third Test hundred and his first in 25 matches and 48 innings.
"I felt rusty to start with," the 32-year-old told Sky Sports. "I then got my head and feet moving towards the ball but I knew I had to be aggressive to put the English guys under pressure and it worked out for me.
"It was a really good day. We knew batting first on this wicket after winning the toss was important to set up this Test match again and it ended up nicely.
"No doubt the important part of our team's success is to score big first up. We know it will be more important because in the second innings it will turn a bit. I hope we have a few more runs in us (on Thursday)."
Watson, in his 46th Test, was especially severe on debutants Chris Woakes (0-52 in 15 overs) and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan (0-53 off eight), chosen after England opted against recalling fast bowler Chris Tremlett on his Surrey home ground.
After losing David Warner for six runs, Watson's contribution was monumental as he mauled the England new-boys with 19 fours and one six in the opening session.
"I faced Simon Kerrigan in the tour match at Northampton (against the second-string England Lions) last week and I knew what to expect," Watson added.
"But this has been the toughest tour I've been on mentally. I've had to take a deep look at myself where my batting is and I've worked very hard.
"I know it won't always be your day but I've had some great people around me to help out and get me through this period and I'm just delighted to have had a good day in the Ashes."