QUEENSLAND pair Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds restored Australia's advantage over England in the fourth Ashes Test at the MCG after passing major individual milestones.
Hayden (153) made the 27th century of his career, while Symonds (154 not out) repaid the faith shown in him by Australia's selectors after coming to the crease with his side in trouble at 5-84.
The Queenslanders' 279-run partnership carried Australia past England's 159 and to 7-372 at stumps on day two.
The stand also had a demoralising effect on the tourists, who had gone to lunch buoyed by taking three Australian wickets but walked off at tea trailing by 67 runs, with conditions expected to improve for batting.
Hayden and Symonds absorbed the pressure England's fast bowlers put on them early in the second session and were soon able to flick the switch to attack, which opened up the field and offered the pair easier runs.
Hayden's fondness for the MCG allowed him to cap a lean year with his second ton of 2006 - he had been dismissed three times in the 90s - and join Allan Border on 27 centuries, with Ricky Ponting (33) and Steve Waugh (32) the only Australians ahead of him.
The opener's century was his fifth in six Tests in Melbourne, and included one straight six off spinner Monty Panesar and another lofted four to reach three figures.
Symonds' knock was the sort Australia has long been dreaming of from such a richly talented player, who might have moved a step closer to sealing his place in the Test side as the all-rounder, especially given Shane Watson's injury problems.
It took Symonds 21 deliveries to get off the mark in a pre-lunch struggle, but from there on he scored quickly and several of his fearsome drives left the hands of England fielders ringing on another cold day.
The Queenslanders' partnership was also a great one for charity, as the pair's performance will raise money for the Australian Breast Cancer Foundation. Both used bats with pink handles to raise further awareness for the organisation.
England's best chance for a breakthrough came when Paul Collingwood made a brilliant attempt at pulling down a soccer goalkeeper-type catch in the gully off a Symonds edge from the bowling of Steve Harmison when the score was on 189.
The Hayden-Symonds partnership was more pain for England, whose bowlers did a terrific job of removing Ponting (seven), Mike Hussey (six) and Michael Clarke (five) for single figures in the first session.
The tourists had only managed to remove any of that trio for under 20 once in a combined 15 innings in the first three Tests this series.
England captain Andrew Flintoff had the pick of the figures, with 3-77, while Sajid Mahmood grabbed two late wickets in his 2-67.