Ryan Carters hit an unbeaten 94 for the Cricket Australia Invitational XI as England's bowlers failed to build on a promising start on day one of the final Ashes warm-up clash.
Carters and Peter Nevill came together with the score on 93-5, with Stuart Broad and Steven Finn having shared the wickets for England.
However an unbroken 178-run stand for the sixth wicket turned the game in the Invitational XI's favour at the SCG, with the hosts reaching 271-5 at stumps.
After a patient start, Carters and Nevill (76no) upped the scoring rate to leave England wondering what could have been.
Things had started so well for England, with Broad giving the Australians a timely reminder of his class.
Broad had sat out the opening match of the tour, while he was expensive in the rain-affected clash in Hobart against Australia A - with the all-rounder finishing with 0-47 off 10 overs.
However Broad was the pick of the England attack in Sydney as took 3-36 off 20 overs.
Finn, preferred to Chris Tremlett, also got in on the act with two wickets however he was a little too expensive - particularly early on.
Finn (2-79) did perform slightly better than Test rival Boyd Rankin, who finished the day with 0-60 off 20 overs.
Rankin got his opportunity with James Anderson rested, while Jonny Bairstow was handed his chances after Matt Prior was ruled out with a calf injury. Kevin Pietersen, who needed a scan after the draw with Australia A, was passed fit to play, although he will have to wait to prove himself with the bat after skipper Alastair Cook opted to field first after winning the toss.
And the decision to bowl looked to be a smart move as England dominated early on. Broad struck with his seventh delivery of the match, with Aaron Finch edging one that moved away to Bairstow for four.
Callum Ferguson managed just eight runs before he was trapped leg before by a cracking delivery from Broad, while Finn had Kurtis Patterson caught by Cook at slip for five.
Ed Cowan and Ben Rohrer attempted to turn the tide, putting on 53 runs for the fourth wicket before Broad claimed his third wicket.
The 27-year-old removed Rohrer for 19, with Michael Carberry taking a superb catch at point, as things quickly got worse for the hosts as Cowan fell.
The Invitational opener had batted superbly for 51 but he was heading back to the pavilion after his attempted pull off Finn found Jonathan Trott at mid-wicket.
From 93-5, though, Carters and Nevill dug in to frustrate the tourists. The duo refused to take any risks at the start but once set they both looked to play some shots - with Nevill thumping Graeme Swann for a big six.
Carters was the first to bring up his 50 - the milestone coming from 128 deliveries - with a boundary off Finn also bringing up the century stand.
Nevill brought up his half-century soon after, with the 28-year-old needing 119 balls to reach the mark.
Not even the arrival of the new ball could lift England, with Carters and Nevill able to safely guide the hosts through to the close
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