Australia's Shane Watson admitted he was surprised to learn that England had not selected Chris Tremlett for the final Ashes Test at The Oval.
With the hosts holding an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series, England handed debuts to all-rounder Chris Woakes and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan.
However, neither impressed as Watson bludgeoned his way to a career-best 176 as Australia closed day on on 307-4.
"I was expecting Tremlett to play, more so than Woakes and Kerrigan," he said.
"He had quite a lot of success against us in Australia in the last Ashes series and bowled beautifully in the games he came in.
"They have obviously got their reasons why they are picking those guys and I'm certainly a little bit happier than I would be having to face a guy who is six foot eight with balls bouncing up all of the time - I'm certainly not complaining."
All-rounder Watson, bating at three for the first time in the series, was quickly into the action after David Warner was caught behind for six and he was particularly dismissive of the bowling of Lancashire's 24-year-old spinner Kerrigan (0-53 from eight overs), hitting 18 off his second over.
"I faced Kerrigan in the tour match at Northampton [against the second-string England Lions] last week and I knew what to expect," Watson added.
"I certainly had a game-plan of what I was going to do and I followed on from that in this innings.
"You could definitely sense that he was very nervous, especially after the first couple of overs. There is no doubt that on your debut it is extremely nerve-wracking, especially if someone gets after you while you are trying to find your feet."
James Anderson, who took two wickets to move above Bob Willis and into second place on England's leading wicket-takers list, was quick to offer support to his Lancashire team-mate.
"It was a tough day for us but it was a pretty lifeless pitch," said 31-year-old Anderson, who has now picked up 326 Test wickets.
"The guys in the dressing room have a job to do. We have to rally round him and keep his spirits high.
"He's had one bad day. He can come back strong and show everyone he can do it. Anyone can have an off day, not just a debutant, even if you've played 80 Tests you need people to help pick you up."
Watson took full advantage of the lifeless pitch, hitting a run-a-ball 80 before lunch before slowing down as he approached his century and taking his eye off the ball as Stuart Broad's well-aimed bouncer threatened to prematurely end his innings on 91.
The 32-year-old ducked into the rising delivery which hit him on the top of the neck under his helmet.
However, he claimed the blow helped him score his first Ashes century and first Test ton since hitting 126 against India in Mohali in October 2010.
Watson told BBC Sport: "Getting hit on the head helped me because it took my mind off getting through the 90s."
However, after receiving medical treatment, he resumed his knock and ended a spell of 41 minutes in the 90s by driving Anderson to bring up his century.
He was dropped by England captain Alastair Cook on 104 and used the Decision Review System to overturn an lbw decision for only the second time in nine attempts when on 166 - a decision that stopped Warwickshire seamer Woakes picking up his first Test wicket.
"I thought the lbw decision was going to be umpire's call when I reviewed it, but I'm not a good umpire, I usually get it wrong," he conceded.