Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 3rd day November 7, 2015

Burns, Warner blast off after Williamson classic

Australia 4 for 556 dec and 4 for 264 (Burns 129, Warner 116, Craig 3-78) lead New Zealand 317 (Williamson 140, Starc 4-57, Johnson 3-105) by 503 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Nicholas: Burns' performance was commanding

Two parallel contests took place on day three of the first Test at the Gabba.

In the first, which should dictate the outcome of the match, Australia tossed 10 of New Zealand's cricketers around like rag dolls, epitomised by Joe Burns' brutal first Test hundred in partnership with a similarly untroubled David Warner. In the second, Australia's XI fought a lengthy and losing battle to curtail Kane Williamson, who made one of the finest hundreds Brisbane has seen with precious little support from those around him.

The overall result of these two bouts was a vast lead for Australia by the close of the day with their captain Steven Smith needing only to determine how many overs he wants to bowl New Zealand out. Yet Williamson's 140 had at least prevented Smith from enacting his best case plan when play began - namely to bowl the visitors out quickly and send them back in.

Instead, Burns and Warner took progressively greater liberties against a bowling line-up shorn of the injured Tim Southee and also carrying a visibly sore Jimmy Neesham. Brendon McCullum was at one point seen rousing Neesham to greater efforts, but there was little New Zealand's captain could do by way of field placing or motivation to stem the flow of runs.

Burns went to his hundred - a vindication of his recall after the selectors were somewhat harsh in leaving him out of the winter tours of the West Indies and England - with two straight sixes in three balls from the hapless Mark Craig. After a brief rain delay, Warner too made three figures, his third set of twin hundreds in a Test match, after Cape Town and Adelaide in 2014. No previous Test opening pair had ever added 150 and 200 in the same match.

Warner was eventually out essaying a switch-hit; Burns skied a similarly aggressive slog. Smith's brief stay was ended when he sliced low to Williamson and the third umpire S Ravi used welcome common sense to take the small leap of logic required when reviewing low catches on a two-dimensional television screen. These wickets came about largely through the desire of the Australians to attack, and a little from some wear in the pitch.

For New Zealand, these indignities were added to those inflicted by the CA XI in Canberra and Blacktown, where Aaron Finch and Ryan Carters had added 503 together before the match was called off due to a rapidly deteriorating pitch. The tourists may be better for the run in Brisbane, but it will take a resilient team to shrug off the humiliations being piled up here.

As a source of inspiration they can look no further than Williamson, who took on Australia's attack almost single-handedly. His 11th Test century was completely composed, containing none of the lapses in concentration that did for other team-mates such as BJ Watling and Craig, and ensured that Smith would not send the visitors back in a second time.

The second new ball was ultimately required, and Mitchell Starc swung it late at pace to pluck Southee's off stump and then find Williamson's inside edge for 140, the second-highest score by a New Zealand batsman at the Gabba after Martin Crowe's 188 in 1985. While Starc's figures of 4 for 57 were handsome, Mitchell Johnson was repeatedly forced through the off side and ultimately conceded five runs per over for his 3 for 105.

Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood and Johnson all bowled testing spells, but Williamson met them all with admirable technique and an array of strokes that stretched the fields set by Smith. His ability to make the most of the situation was summed up when the Australians raced through an over from Voges to allow Lyon one more before lunch. While Williamson made some efforts to delay and usher the interval, he then proceeded to punch a pair of boundaries in Lyon's over.

Watling and Williamson have a history of partnerships, and would have hoped to push New Zealand through the morning without loss. But after they negotiated Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, Watling hung his bat out at Johnson's first ball of the morning and a thin edge behind was gratefully accepted by Peter Nevill.

Craig showed evidence of batting talent that has allowed him to average greater than 40 in his brief Test career to date, but after a pesky stand with Williamson he decided to get down the wicket to Lyon, a task invariably more difficult than it appears. A first drive just cleared the head of the man posted at mid-off, and when Smith pushed him halfway to the boundary, Craig's next big shot attempt was a swish across the line that brought a top edge and a simple catch to point.

Bracewell showed good sense to accompany Williamson however, and the loss of partners at the other end seemed the only thing that would prevent New Zealand's No. 3 from going past three figures. Granted enough time at the crease, Williamson cruised to his century, and Australia have found that like the rest of world cricket, they have some thinking to do about how to get him out. New Zealand, though, are hard pressed to dismiss anyone at the moment.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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