Australia are perfectly placed to level the Ashes after day one of the second Test, when Steve Smith taunted England with words and willow.
Smith and Chris Rogers shared an unbeaten 259-run stand at Lord’s, powering Australia to a total of 1-337 at stumps on Thursday.
Smith will resume on 129, having already extended his incredible run to six centuries from eight consecutive Tests.
Ian Bell fumbled a low catch at second slip when Smith was on 50 and Australia were 1-167.
Smith bluntly pointed out it wasn’t the only piece of charity from the hosts.
“I was a little bit surprised that Trevor Bayliss would allow Alastair Cook to have a deep point for as long as he did today,” Smith said.
“It was a good pitch to bat on but they got defensive quite quickly. I know that’s one thing we’re certainly not going to do.”
Jimmy Anderson didn’t fire back in response to the barb directed at Bayliss, Smith’s former mentor at NSW.
“Setting fields on a wicket like that, with a fast outfield, is always tricky,” Anderson said.
“We tried to creature pressure in certain ways, whether that’s defensive or not I’m not sure.”
Rogers finished 159 not out, his highest Test score.
It is already Australia’s highest second-wicket stand at the venue.
Two more runs and the pair will overhaul Michael Slater and Mark Taylor, marking Australia’s highest partnership at the home of cricket.
With the exception of David Warner throwing his wicket away in the 15th over, it’s hard to imagine a better bounceback from the tourists after their 169-run loss in the first Test.
Rogers noted it was important his side hit back hard after being humbled inside four days at Cardiff.
“We came into this series riding the crest of a wave and thinking we were just going to come in and take England down,” Rogers said.
“But to suffer a heavy loss like that put us back in our place and made us question ourselves a little bit.
“Hopefully Steve and I have made a bit of a statement and showed, our change room as much as anyone, that we can get the upper hand on England.”
It’s just the second Test at Lord’s where only one wicket has fallen on day one.
Rogers had a nervous moment on zero in the opening over, when an edge flew over the slips cordon and careered to the rope.
From that point on the Middlesex captain looked in complete control at his adopted home.
“It’s such a stupid game in many respects. It requires luck … I would have got a duck but here I am and I’m 150,” Rogers said.
By the time Cook threw the ball to fellow opener Adam Lyth, Australia were 1-191 and England’s skipper was fast running out of ideas as to how he’d conjure a wicket.