Rain forces draw after openers star
England finished their Ashes warm-up match against South Australia on the front foot but with only a rain-affected draw to show for Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss' twin hundreds.
The previously out-of-form Cook's unbeaten 111 was the most heartening contribution as England raced to a second-innings declaration on 240 for one.
There was then continued improvement too from the bowlers, who had only distant prospects of dismissing their hosts in little more than a session after rain took 25 precious overs out of the final day.
Under dark skies at the Adelaide Oval, South Australia did enough to close on 48 for two - in nominal pursuit of 308 to win - and the stalemate was confirmed seven overs before the scheduled last hour.
Strauss, who made 102, and fellow opener Cook put on 181 in 42 overs as England pressed on from a start-of-play 94 without loss, with their lead already 161.
That allowed 10 minutes with the new ball at Daniel Harris and James Smith before the weather closed in during lunch and throughout the afternoon.
Strauss already had three leg-side sixes to his name in his unbeaten half-century last night, and he completed a 118-ball hundred with his fourth maximum - another pick-up slog-sweep off slow left-armer Aaron O'Brien - to go with 13 fours.
It was his second century in successive matches. But O'Brien bowled the England captain, attempting another big hit to leg, immediately afterwards.
Cook made the most of favourable circumstances after he and Strauss had done the harder work in impression fashion yesterday.
His run of moderate form had been one of the few areas of concern for England in their build-up to the first Test in Brisbane starting on November 25.
But Cook - like his captain - fed off a succession of easy scoring opportunities presented by a bowling unit missing Jake Haberfield, who limped out of the action yesterday with a leg injury.
It took Cook 152 deliveries to reach three figures, and when he did so his mistimed pull - edged over the wicketkeeper's head off Tim Lang for his 16th four - was no thing of beauty. No one in the England camp was complaining, though.
There was also little to quibble about after James Anderson had taken two more wickets to finish with match figures of 5-85 - and Stuart Broad and Steven Finn also looked increasingly ready for the major tasks which lie ahead.
Paul Collingwood, whose catching has been hit and miss so far on this tour, dropped Harris on 10 - diving away to his right at third slip - but made it up to Anderson by snapping up Smith, low down in the same position, soon afterwards.
Jonathan Trott also finished 50-50 in the field, taking an outstanding one-handed catch diving away to his right at midwicket when Michael Klinger pulled Anderson in the air - but putting down a more straightforward chance off Finn at square-leg to reprieve Harris again, this time on 11.
England therefore could have made more inroads, and got a little closer to victory.
But they could nonetheless end the day with justifiable satisfaction, in the knowledge they had been denied as much by bad weather as by home resistance.