Michael Clarke reshuffled his batting order on day three of Australia’s opening tour game in England, but the captain was unable to cash in.
Clarke opened alongside Chris Rogers after the visitors rolled Kent for 280 in Canterbury.
The 34-year-old timed the ball sweetly and made a fluent 47, including eight boundaries, but came unstuck against offspinner Adam Riley.
Searching for the rope, Clarke instead found the safe hands of Ben Harmison as Australia reached 2-132 at tea on Saturday.
Allrounders Shane Watson and Mitch Marsh were also promoted up the order after modest first innings.
Watson was 27 not out at tea, while Marsh was on eight.
Australia held a 359-run lead at the break, but the priority in the final session will be giving Watson and Marsh ample time to shine.
Their selection showdown is one of many challenging decisions that national selectors must make before the Ashes start in Cardiff on July 8.
Rogers followed up his first-innings 84 with a knock of 45 on Saturday.
The 37-year-old, who missed the two-Test series against West Indies due to concussion, is expected to reclaim his spot.
However Rod Marsh and his colleagues could yet stick with incumbent opener Shaun Marsh, who scored 114 on day one.
Marsh’s other conundrum is settling on a pace attack.
Ryan Harris, Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the 2013 Ashes, is no certainty to return given the form of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in the Caribbean.
Harris snared two wickets on Saturday, while Mitchell Johnson finished with figures of 4-56 from 18 overs after cranking up the pace on day two.