Tour match, Sydney, day two of three (stumps): New South Wales 355-9 dec v England 256-4
Kevin Pietersen capped England's best day in Australia so far with a fine innings against New South Wales.
Pietersen played some typically flamboyant strokes to rally England
Pietersen (80no), Andrew Strauss (50), Alastair Cook (59), and Andrew Flintoff (48no) all shone on day two in Sydney.
Earlier, Steve Harmison claimed 3-95 as the hosts declared on 355-9 after rain allowed only 4.1 overs before lunch.
Marcus Trescothick and Ian Bell failed but the tourists closed on 256-4, showing encouraging signs ahead of the first Test in Brisbane on 23 November.
Their prospects for that game were already starting to look bleak after a Prime Minister's XI thrashed them on Friday and New South Wales racked up 325-5 on day one.
The boys did fantastically against possibly four of the bowlers we could face in the Ashes
But Harmison, who had been expensive, led the fightback by trapping Moises Henriques lbw with an inswinger in his second over.
After the extended break, Daniel Smith (45) was dropped by a diving Strauss at second slip off Matthew Hoggard before edging Harmison behind.
Hoggard did take a wicket when Nathan Hauritz spooned the ball to Ashley Giles at short mid-wicket and James Anderson (2-45) struck with his first ball, Nathan Bracken edging a wild drive to Trescothick.
Trescothick has brought his poor form from the summer to Australia and, after making only two in the defeat in Canberra, he played on to Brett Lee for eight.
Fellow left-hander Strauss was hit in the chest by a Lee delivery but recovered to produce a succession of crisp drives and cuts off the speedster and Glenn McGrath.
Harmison got the breakthrough England wanted early on in Sydney
He was dropped by Clark in the gully off Bracken on 32 but, after hitting eight boundaries in a 57-ball knock, saw Clark make amends by holding a brilliant one-handed catch off his own bowling.
Bell edged his second ball off Clark behind to leave the tourists in danger of undoing their good work.
Cook almost played on twice early in his innings, but the runs gradually began to flow.
Pietersen got lucky when he top-edged a hook shot off Lee into space at backward square leg, but he then smashed Henriques for six over the mid-wicket boundary.
Pietersen continued to torment the young all-rounder, hitting three fours off the 37th over, but then McGrath broke the fourth-wicket stand, bowling around the wicket to trap left-hander Cook lbw.
Pietersen brought up his 50 by lofting McGrath over mid-on for four, before Flintoff got in on the act, hitting spinner Beau Casson for three boundaries in quick succession.