SYDNEY - Ryan Carters and skipper Peter Nevill frustrated England's bowlers with an unbroken 178-run stand for the Cricket Australia Invitational XI on Wednesday in the tourists' final match before the Ashes. 

England had the invitation side reeling on 93 for five, but wicketkeepers Carters and Nevill hit back to blunt their attack on the opening day of the four-day match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. At the close the Invitational XI were 271 for five after being sent in to bat, with Carters unbeaten on 94 and Nevill not out 76. The pair defied the England attack for 348 balls and were doing so easily as the pitch flattened out during the day.

With established stars Usman Khawaja, Phil Hughes, Adam Voges and Steve O'Keefe pulled from the match, some unheralded New South Wales players had the chance to prove themselves and Carters and Nevill seized the opportunity. "It's really satisfying.  We always backed ourselves to have a really good crack at the English and I think we showed today we've got some fight in us," Carters said. "Nev's a really quality first-class player.  He's been doing it for a few years now and today he showed he can also do it against international opposition. "

Stuart Broad had bowled England into a strong position with three wickets.  But the tourists were denied any further breakthroughs after the pair came together, just over a week before the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane. Broad was by far England's best bowler and finished the day with three wickets for 36 off 20 overs. And he was happy with his day's work and expressed confidence his bowling teammates would lift.

"It's hugely exciting we have such a choice.  I genuinely feel whoever goes into that seamer's spot will do a fantastic job," he said. "Boyd's (Rankin) bounce is exceptional, Finny (Steven Finn) has a fantastic strike rate in Test cricket and (Chris) Tremlett has won games for England in Test cricket with his huge frame and consistency.  All the guys add a huge amount, it's a tough call to make. "Paceman Finn grabbed the other two wickets but was far more expensive, giving up 79 runs in 22 overs.  Fellow quick Rankin claimed no wicket for 60 from 20 overs.

Test spinner Graeme Swann toiled for 22 wicketless overs and conceded 66 runs. With spearhead James Anderson rested, Broad took the new ball and worked up a good pace and bounce. He had Aaron Finch caught behind for four and trapped Callum Ferguson leg before wicket for eight.  Then Finn had Kurtis Patterson well caught at first slip by skipper Alastair Cook for five to leave the home side on 37 for three.

Finn removed former Australia Test opener Ed Cowan for 51 off 93 balls with nine fours shortly after lunch, and Broad had Ben Rohrer caught by Michael Carberry for 19 in the only wickets to fall in the middle session. Cook had won the toss and chose to field, deciding that his bowlers needed a workout because of time lost to poor weather earlier in the tour. Kevin Pietersen was included in the England team after having a cortisone injection for a troublesome knee, while Ian Bell returned to the batting line-up. Wicketkeeper Matt Prior was left out for Jonny Bairstow as he receives treatment for a calf strain. The five-Test Ashes series begins on November 21 in Brisbane.

Scoreboard

CA INVITATIONAL XI 1ST INNINGS:

Aaron Finch c Bairstow b Broad    4

Ed Cowan c Trott b Finn    51

Callum Ferguson lbw b Broad    8

Kurtis Patterson c Cook b Finn    5

Ben Rohrer c Carberry b Broad    19

Ryan Carters not out    94

Peter Nevill not out    76

EXTRAS: (lb7, w2, nb5)    14

TOTAL: (5 wkts; 90 overs)    271

FOW: 1-4, 2-27, 3-37, 4-90, 5-93

BOWLING: Broad 20-7-36-3, Rankin 20-4-60-0, Finn 22-4-79-2, Swann 22-5-66-0, Trott 5-1-22-0, Root 1-0-1-0

TOSS: England

UMPIRES: Simon Fry, Mick Martell (AUS)