MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Captain Alastair Cook and fellow opener Michael Carberry struck unbeaten centuries to humiliate a depleted Australia A bowling attack and drive England to a record 318 without loss on day one of their tour match in Hobart on Wednesday.
On a benign wicket and facing only two specialist pacemen, Cook (154 not out) and Carberry (153) gave a possible taster of England's opening partnership for the first Ashes test in Brisbane on November 21 as they carted the hosts to all corners in a record opening stand at Bellerive Oval.
Cook appeared to signal his intentions earlier when opener Joe Root was named at number five and the boyish 22-year-old may now feel resigned to batting further down during the Ashes after watching one-test Carberry appear completely at ease following his 78 in the first tour match in Perth.
Australia's selectors may now ponder the wisdom of hiding their frontline bowlers from England's batsmen, with Cook and Carberry, 33, certain to enjoy a shot of confidence, albeit at the hands of uncapped seamer Ben Cutting and three-test paceman Trent Copeland.
The spinners were also unable to extract any life from the pitch, with left-armer Jon Holland blasted for 66 runs from his 12 overs and two-test all-rounder Glenn Maxwell faring little better with his offspin, going for 80 from his 24 overs.
Cook had an indifferent Ashes at home by his sky-high standards in the 3-0 series win and was taunted as a "boring" and "unimaginative" captain by former Australia spinner Shane Warne earlier this week.
But having missed the opening tour match with a sore back, the England captain provided the perfect riposte as he settled back into the Australian groove with a chanceless ton against the Moises Henriques-captained hosts.
"He's quite a calm, relaxed guy at the crease," Carberry told local reporters of Cook, who scored three centuries in the 2010-11 Ashes to help England win the series away from home for the first time in a quarter of a century.
"What you see is what he is, really.
"He's a run machine. He knows his game, he's very calm, very good to bat with."
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)