Warner, Burns, Khawaja dominant
Australia 2 for 389 (Warner 163, Khawaja 102*, Burns 71) v New Zealand
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How friendly is too friendly? New Zealand's cricketers were derided by Australia as "the politest","nice guy" team ahead of this match, and on day one the touring bowlers allowed an untried home batting line-up the opportunity to dominate and thus set-up the Gabba Test in the same fashion as so many before them.
So much did they dominate that this was Australia's most fruitful of all opening days at the Gabba, better even than the 2 for 364 run up by Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting when invited to bat by Nasser Hussain in 2002. David Warner's stand with his new partner Joe Burns set the scene, before Usman Khawaja glided to his first Test hundred with all the class he had promised on his debut against England five summers ago.
For an Australian team still carrying the scars of being routed for 60 at Trent Bridge earlier in 2015, this was a day that began in a blissfully uneventful manner and grew increasingly dominant. For a New Zealand side harbouring genuine ambitions of winning a series down under for the first time since 1985, it was a shock to the system - and a reminder of how hurtful their abandoned warm-up fixture at Blacktown had been.
Batting first after the captain Steven Smith won the toss, Warner and Burns weathered the new ball spells of Tim Southee and Trent Boult before accelerating to a union of 161 that went a long way towards setting up the match and series for the hosts. Khawaja then capitalised with an innings of fluency right around the ground. Their runs allowed Smith the luxury of walking to the wicket at 2 for 311, and he was soon making merry too.
Warner's 13th Test hundred was his first since he made 101 in Australia's opening match of the year against India in Sydney, and was clearly informed by a few of the lessons he learned during the unsuccessful Ashes campaign in England. While there was still the odd flourish, Warner kept well and truly in control of his instincts and emotions, barely playing and missing until he made one failed swish at a Mark Craig delivery on 99. Ultimately he would face 200 balls for the first time in Tests, a credit to his powers of concentration.
Burns' Brisbane experience served him well. He showed tremendous patience to leave the ball well but also play the line when balls moved, not chancing an edge by trying to adjust too much. Burns waited until his 20th delivery to get off zero with a sturdy square drive, and later pushed his score along by showing fleetness of foot against the spin of Craig. He looked increasingly secure until dropping his guard briefly to follow a Southee delivery tailing away and paid for the error with his wicket.
That delivery aside, the visitors were unable to keep the Kookaburra ball swerving as consistently as they had hoped, and only a handful of deliveries beat the bat. Southee and Boult were a tad short in the early overs before Warner and Burns had set themselves, a common failing of pacemen visiting the Gabba. The support bowlers Doug Bracewell and Craig showed very little ability to control the scoreboard, their days summed up when Bracewell took a heavy fall on the hard Gabba turf when in delivery stride first ball after tea.
Warner's innings carried on from the composed visage he took on in the dead fifth Test of the Ashes series at The Oval, when he excelled in his final opening stand with the now retired Chris Rogers. He waited until the eighth over of the morning for his first boundary, but rotated strike cleverly to ensure the New Zealand bowlers had to keep changing their lines.
Later in the session he opened his shoulders, firing one straight driven six off Bracewell. Growing New Zealand anxiety about their lack of inroads was betrayed by an lbw referral against Warner for a ball that was pitching clearly outside leg stump.
Boult and Southee found a modicum of swing when play resumed, but neither was able to land the ball consistently enough to pose problems. Burns and Warner grew increasingly confident, the former nailing one hook shot to a prancing Southee short ball that might easily have resulted in a top edge. The stand of 161 was the best by a new Australian opening combination since Bill Lawry and Ian Redpath over 50 years ago, and it was a surprise when Burns snicked a Southee ball delivered from wide on the crease.
McCullum brought Boult straight back into the bowling attack to try to defeat Khawaja, but the left-armer's motley assortment of short and straight deliveries did not trouble the new batsman. Nor did a selection of balls dragged down by Craig pose Khawaja any problems. Within a few overs Warner and Khawaja were rolling along as though Burns' wicket had been of little consequence, and this most inventive of New Zealand sides were starting to look short of ideas.
Few could be found in the evening session, and it was more fatigue than anything else that did for Warner. A tired-looking edge off the bowling of Jimmy Neesham was wonderfully caught by Ross Taylor, but that only served to bring Smith to the crease. In the run up to stumps he and Khawaja motored along against old ball and new, the latter leaping into the air upon reaching his century when pulling another short ball from Boult. For Khawaja and Australia's selectors, this was the stuff of dreams.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig