Australia were 55-2 at lunch in reply to England's 294 all out, with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne batting.
The struggling David Warner fell for only five after Mitchell Marsh and Pat Cummins struck to bowl England out for 294 at The Oval.
Jos Buttler felt it was time to "go for it" as he launched a final-session assault with England in trouble on the opening day at The Oval.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh was delighted to make an impact on day one of his first Ashes appearance of the series at The Oval.
Jos Buttler made 64 not out, including three sixes, to see England through to 271-8 at stumps after they had crumbled to 226-8.
England's struggles against Australia in the Ashes must lead to a reshuffle in the Test side, especially at the top of the order.
Australia avoided more final-day agony at a tense Old Trafford to beat England and retain the Ashes.
Australia took two wickets in each session to close in on retaining the Ashes, but England showed final-day resistance at Old Trafford.