Sydney: Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen all scored half centuries as England's batsmen made the most of the Sydney sunshine on the second day of their final tour match before the Ashes on Thursday.
Opener Michael Carberry, who looks set to make his Ashes debut in Brisbane next week, was dismissed for just four but thereafter it was a good day for the tourists, who reached the close of play on 302 for five against an Invitational XI.
After Carberry's departure, Cook and Trott enjoyed a long period out in the middle on a good Sydney Cricket Ground wicket, putting on 143 for the second wicket before both were caught behind as a result of loose shots.
Trott, who had an average of only 27 in the first Ashes series of the year in England, was particularly unhappy with the manner of his dismissal and ruefully bit his bat as he made way slowly back to the dressing room with 83 runs to his name.
Cook accumulated 81 before making way for Ian Bell, who joined Kevin Pietersen at the crease and the pair both survived early scares before taking the game to the bowlers.
Bell smashed 35 of 45 balls but it was Pietersen who really caught the eye, playing sensibly for 45 minutes or so before cutting lose with a full repertoire of exotic shots.
Showing no signs of the knee problem that forced him to have a cortisone injection last Sunday, he knelt down to smash his second six of the innings over midwicket before holing out on the boundary three balls later for 57 from 71 balls.
Leg spinner James Muirhead (2-97) took the wicket, a small measure of revenge for the punishment he had received from an almost contemptuous Pieteresen.
Joe Root, occupying the number six spot he is expected to retain in Brisbane, kept up the scoring rate with a quickfire 26, while Jonny Bairstow, standing in as wicketkeeper for the injured Matt Prior, accumulated a more pedestrian 11.
That left England two runs behind at close of play. Pace bowler Steve Finn had earlier ended up with five for 103 to stake his claim for the berth as the third seamer for the Gabba as the Invitational XI were dismissed for 304 before lunch.