The Cricket Australia Invitational XI led England by 39 runs with a day to play in their final Ashes warm-up tour match at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.
The tourists took a 114 run advantage from the first innings after scoring 418 less than a week before the Ashes series starts against Australia in Brisbane.
Opener Aaron Finch blasted a whirlwind 59 from 60 deliveries and Ed Cowan a more sedate 42 to wipe out England’s lead, but the tourists can be expected to wrap up victory today’s final day of play.
At the close on the third day, the invitational side was 153-4 with Kurtis Patterson on eight and first innings top scorer Ryan Carters on one.
Finch reprised his one-day international form with an adventurous knock and fell to Test spinner Graeme Swann after slamming him for six off the previous ball.
Stuart Broad removed former Test opener Cowan with one that kept a little low and Steven Finn bowled Callum Ferguson for 26.
Ben Rohrer was the fourth man down when he pulled out of a hook shot only to get an edge off Boyd Rankin and went for 13.
England were earlier dismissed for 418, adding 116 runs with the loss of five wickets after resuming on the penultimate day at 302 for five.
Joe Root hit 75 with nine fours before he was bowled attempting a pull shot off Nicholas Bills.
Jonathan Trott top-scored with 83, skipper Alastair Cook hit 81 and Kevin Pietersen 57 as most of England’s top order got starts ahead of the November 21 opening Ashes Test against Australia at the Gabba.
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow chipped in with 48 and was caught behind attempting to cut paceman Chris Tremain.
Bairstow could yet figure in the opening Test if regular ‘keeper Matt Prior fails to recover in time from a calf strain picked up in last week’s tour match against Australia A in Hobart.
Leg-spinner James Muirhead finished the best of the Invitational XI’s bowlers with 4-115 off 22.5 overs, while Bills claimed 3-76.