Heady times continue for Aussie cricketers
Steve Smith remains peerless but Travis Head has emerged as Australia's other form batsman on their Ashes tour, producing an unbeaten ton in the former skipper's absence against Worcestershire.
Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc also delivered a timely reminder of their potent new-ball pairing, earning praise for their response to selection snubs.
Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle were rested from the three-day match, which began just two days after Australia secured a 251-run win over England in the First Test.
Head, having played an unheralded role in Australia's triumph at Edgbaston, finished 109 not out against the team he played for in 2018 as the visitors declared at 5/266. Hazlewood snared two wickets as Worcestershire crashed to 3/31 at stumps.
Head, Australia's vice-captain, enjoyed a warm reception from fans while helping himself to 14 boundaries, ensuring he will enter the second Test full of confidence.
"He batted beautifully today," teammate Usman Khawaja said. "He's been batting well. Batting well in the (Australia) A stuff from all reports, he batted beautifully in the last Test match.
"Scoring runs is a habit, you have to keep doing it. He's in a really good place now, hopefully he can keep doing it for the rest of the tour."
Head put away plenty of loose deliveries but was sensible with his aggression, striking the perfect balance.
The left-hander scored 35 and 51 on Ashes debut in Birmingham. Head's second-innings partnership with Smith, worth 130 runs, was Australia's biggest stand of the first Test.
Many English pundits are still coming to terms with Smith's matchwinning knocks of 144 and 142 in the Ashes opener but Khawaja has come to expect as much from his long-time teammate.
"I've seen him do it so often. It's just like another day at the office for him, he's scored 25 Test hundreds," Khawaja said.
"I've seen him do that for a long time. His decision making is the best in the world in Test cricket … he backs up hundred after hundred and when he gets on a roll he keeps going. To come back the way he did was exceptional."
Khawaja added the victory would rank among the top five wins of his career. After his half century, Khawaja described the Worcestershire pitch as tough to bat on because of the amount of seam movement.
Tim Paine is playing the low-key fixture but Matthew Wade took the wicketkeeping gloves for the final hour of play on Wednesday, ensuring he will be sharp if needed behind the stumps at any point in the Ashes.
HAZLEWOOD, STARC RESPOND WELL
Hazlewood and Starc, keen to impress as selectors mull whether to rejig Australia's attack for the Lord's clash with England that starts a week later, both needed exactly five deliveries to find their first wicket. Starc trapped Tom Fell lbw for a duck.
Joshua Dell, whose stumps were skittled by Hazlewood, also failed to get off the mark.
The right-armer would have been on a hat-trick in his first over if Cameron Bancroft held a low slips catch to dismiss Jack Haynes.
Hazlewood removed Haynes soon after and finished the day with figures of 2/2 from four overs, impressing a crowd that included chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.
It was the superstars' first game since being on drinks duty during the first Test at Edgbaston.
"They've been normal around the team, been awesome. As expected, they're both great blokes," Khawaja said.
"It says a lot about our team that two guys who have been in the team for so long and played a lot of cricket, they get left out and they don't carry on. Just go about their business.
"They're two world-class bowlers. We obviously have a lot of depth at the moment to have two guys of that calibre sitting out."
Khawaja noted both quicks created plenty of headaches for a Worcestershire top order that included Callum Ferguson, who played one Test for Australia in 2016. Ferguson was six not out at stumps.
"They just hit that length beautifully," Khawaja said. "They bowled pretty well didn't they?"
Justin Langer suggested after Australia's series-opening win over England that the Lord's pitch would ultimately determine whether Hazlewood or Starc are recalled next week.
Australia's top six is far more settled. Marnus Labuschagne and Mitch Marsh, whose hopes of batting at No. 6 during the five-Test series took a big blow when Matthew Wade scored his century at Edgbaston, were dismissed for 15 and 13 in Worcester.
Bancroft looked rock solid before falling on 33 late in the opening session of the three-day game, when he misread a delivery from right-armer Josh Tongue that made a mess of the stumps.
Marcus Harris, the only other candidate in the squad to partner David Warner at the top of the order, was bowled on 14 attempting to leave a ball from teenage paceman Adam Finch.