Captain Michael Clarke led from the front with an unbeaten hundred as Australia closed day one of the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford on 303-3.
Needing a win to keep alive their slender hopes of regaining the urn, the tourists made the most of the chance to bat first on a placid pitch to enjoy their best day of the summer so far.
Clarke became the first Australian to reach three figures in the series when he turned a single to mid-wicket; by the close he was on 125 having hit 17 boundaries during his maiden Test ton against the old rivals since taking charge.
Steve Smith weighed in with 70 not out during an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 174, though twice he came out on the right end of reviews. He also survived a strong lbw shout off Stuart Broad that would have been overturned had England still had the opportunity to call for a referral.
Opener Chris Rogers had earlier made 84 as Australia's much-maligned batsmen finally fired in the Manchester sun, suggesting the series isn't done and dusted just yet.
David Warner didn't even get the chance to get out to the middle - or be greeted to some pantomime boos from the sell-out crowd on his emergence from the new pavilion - after being recalled in place of Phil Hughes, one of three changes by the visitors following their heavy defeat inside four days at Lord's.
Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, the other two fresh faces, taking over from the injured James Pattinson and the ousted Ashton Agar, will also have to wait their turns to have an impact, albeit this time the Australian attack will actually have some runs to play with.
The foundations for a big first-innings score were laid up front when Rogers and Shane Watson seemed to switch roles during a stand of 76.
Rogers was, for once, the aggressor of the pair, reaching his half-century at faster than a run-a-ball rate when a square drive through point bought him his 10th boundary of the morning session.
He continued in a similar fashion after the interval before a lapse in concentration cost him dear, Graeme Swann (2-82) tempting him to play across the line to a delivery tossed up. The batsman's slow walk off the field showed his disappointment at failing to go on and reach three figures.
Watson had earlier been the first wicket to fall in the day, Tim Bresnan finding his outside edge to provide Alastair Cook with a simple catch at first slip.
Usman Khawaja (1) also failed to make it through to lunch, though he could feel aggrieved when he was adjudged caught behind by wicketkeeper Matt Prior off Swann's bowling.
Umpire Tony Hill initially gave the batsman out but it seemed Khawaja would get a reprieve on review when 'Hot Spot' suggested there was no outside edge. However, third umpire Kumar Dharmasena decided there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the initial decision, meaning Australia were two down and the rather bemused batsman had to head off.
The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, even took to Twitter to voice his disapproval, but it was a rare low point on an otherwise uplifting day for Clarke and his troops.
Not even the second new ball could find a fourth wicket for an unchanged England attack - on reflection, Chris Tremlett and Monty Panesar may both be a little relieved to have been left out.