Rain delayed the scheduled 11.00am local time (1000GMT) start of the second day's play in the fifth and final Ashes Test between England and Australia at The Oval on Thursday.

At stumps on Wednesday's first day, Australia were 307 for four as they sought a consolation victory in a five-match series already won by England at 3-0 up.

Shane Watson's Test-best 176 was the cornerstone of Australia's imposing total. It was only his third Test hundred -- his first in 25 matches and 48 innings since his previous best of 126 against India at Mohali in October 2010.

All-rounder Watson was especially severe on England debutant bowlers Chris Woakes, a medium-pacer, and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan who ended the day with expensive poor combined figures of none for 105 in 23 overs.

England have never won four Tests in a home Ashes series, while it is 36 years since Australia last went through an Ashes without winning a single Test.

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