Matthew Hayden completed a century and Adam Gilchrist was racing towards his own hundred as Australia amassed 331 for six on the opening day of the ICC super Test with the Rest of the World on Friday.
Hayden made a determined 111 while Gilchrist finished the day unbeaten on 94 when bad light ended play five overs early at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Hayden and Gilchrist also shared a 97-run partnership for the fifth wicket as the world champions recovered from a mid-order slump to pile on the runs against a World XI still licking their wounds from last week's 3-0 loss in the one-day series.
The world selection had made the perfect start when Steve Harmison clean bowled opener Justin Langer for a duck from the third ball of the match and his England teammate Andrew Flintoff captured the prize wicket of Australia captain Ricky Ponting for 46.
Luck also seemed to be going their way as three Australians, Michael Clarke, Simon Katich and Shane Watson, were all given out by the video umpire as part of an experiment into the increased use of technology.
Clarke left the playing arena shaking his head in disbelief after being adjudged to have been caught bat-pad for 39, Katich was run out for a duck and Watson was trapped leg before wicket to Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for 24.
Their dismissals threatened to ruin Australia's hopes of building a big total on a placid Sydney pitch offering little encouragement to either pace or spin.
Muralitharan was the pick of the World XI bowlers, capturing two wickets from 30 overs, while Harmison, Flintoff and New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori collected one apiece.
Hayden, whose international career was in jeopardy before he scored a century in the last Ashes Test, repaid the selectors for their faith with his 22nd Test hundred.
The broad-shouldered Queenslander began cautiously, scoring just 28 in the morning session, before accelerating after lunch.
He twice got the benefit of the doubt to loud lbw appeals, including one which was referred to the video umpire, before reaching his hundred after tea off 161 balls when he drove Harmison to the boundary. He was dismissed after tea for 111, caught by Jacques Kallis off Muralitharan.
Gilchrist, player of the series in last week's three one-dayers in Melbourne, was in a typically far more aggressive mood.
He smashed eight boundaries and four sixes off only 109 balls to reach the close just six runs away from his hundred with Shane Warne on one.
Ponting had also looked to be in great touch as he got within sight of a half-century before an uncharacteristic error brought him undone just before lunch.
Harmison, overlooked for the one-day series, sent Langer tumbling to the pitch with his second delivery and then knocked his off-stump out of the ground with the next ball.
Ponting struck six boundaries and a six and looked to be on his way to a bigger score when he tried to glance a ball from Flintoff through the vacant gully area only to misjudge the angle and be caught by a diving Kallis at second slip.
The most contentious video decision was Clarke's, who was given out caught by Indian Virender Sehwag off Vettori, despite some doubt as to whether the ball had clipped the inside of his bat.
South African umpire Rudi Koertzen referred the matter to the video umpire Darrell Hair but decided to give him out anyway when Hair reported back that the television replays were inconclusive.