A pink ball, a floodlit evening, an evenly grassed Adelaide Oval pitch. These are conditions in which, most of the time, bowlers have prospered. Just this week, Josh Hazlewood described Adelaide as his favourite pitch to bowl on in Australia. Before now David Warner had never reached 50 in a day-night Test; before now, Marnus Labuschagne had never made a first-class century against the pink ball.
So there was an enormous amount to admire about the way Warner and Labuschagne took their second opportunity in as many innings to completely dominate Pakistan, the former solidifying his near enough to peerless Test match record in Australia, the latter maintaining a breakout year that not even he can have expected to be quite so supreme. Even if the visitors at times gave a display that might have made a fitting visual accompaniment to John Lennon's lackadaisical ode, I'm Only Sleeping.
Strange as it seemed to say at stumps, Pakistan actually did a lot more right in their initial efforts to find a way past Australia's top order in the rain-bookended first session. Including Mohammad Abbas at the expense of Imran Khan, the visitors pursued a more consistent line around the wicket to Warner, while at the other end Shaheen Afridi found the ideal spot early on against Joe Burns. Having bent a couple of balls back into Burns, Shaheen angled one across to catch a thin edge, and when next ball there was a noise as Labuschagne pushed at it there was the hint of two in two.
However, Labuschagne had brushed the ground rather than the ball, and from there Warner and the No. 3 took progressively more control. Warner, having successfully evaded dismissal to balls angled into him - even if they momentarily restricted his scoring - was soon to profit from being able to free his arms against deliveries drifting wider of the off stump, while Labuschagne made a statement by moving well out of his crease to flick Abbas' first ball to him through midwicket. By the end of the session the pair were motoring along at better than four an over, leaving Azhar Ali with some thinking to do.
These first impressions were to be maintained more or less throughout. Warner left the ball considerably more often than usual and took a guard that brought him well and truly outside the off stump. Abbas consequently found himself being dragged wide enough that remarkably few of his deliveries would have gone on to hit the stumps, and as Warner grew more comfortable, he picked off runs with a typical combination of intimidatory running between the wickets - has there ever been a more physically fit Australian opener? - and regular boundaries.
"It was probably the best I've ever left [the ball] I think," Warner said. "I think that's down to the quality bowling of Abbas, leading into this Test, knowing what he's capable of, I had to be patient as well. I couldn't play those rash shots, and he really tried his best to hang it out there and dangled the carrot, and I just waited for him to overpitch. That's one thing in my game I really tried to work hard on, is try to be a bit more patient and really wait for it. the last two games I've showed myself I can do that.
"[Abbas bowling wider] makes it easier to make that decision, whether to get across and leave the ball and wait for that length, and you can still climb into it. If you looked out there, I didn't really try and over-hit the cover drives, I just tried to punch it into the gaps, and use my timing. At the back end I did throw the bat a little bit, but in saying that I really tightened up and if I can play underneath my eyes it holds me in good stead while I'm out there."
For Labuschagne, the initial movement out towards Abbas was a sign he had thought long and hard about facing him and similar bowlers since their first meeting in the UAE a little more than a year ago. That Labuschagne was able to collect runs through midwicket with something like impunity, from his very first scoring stroke to the one that took him to a second Test hundred in as many innings, was another indicator of how fruitful his time at Glamorgan with Matthew Maynard had been. Added to this were a series of late cuts that challenged bowlers and fielders alike, so precise were their execution.
"Marnus fielded for us one or two times in Test matches, then I played against him in Shield games," Warner said. "I just remember how annoying he was, he never shut up on the field, a bit like me when I was a youngster. But his work ethic is outstanding, he's got this bromance between him and Smudge [Steven Smith] and it's really rubbing off on him in the way he prepares.
"I've had people say they couldn't believe how good he was, and everyone talks about how he gets starts, but I always said to him the hardest one is your first one, and then it goes on from there. To see him start like he did last game, loud calls, good intent, rotated the strike, I can't praise him anymore, he's an outstanding talent."
Warner's century, celebrated sans bat as he raced towards the Australian team viewing area and brandished his helmet with its coat of arms, was his 17th in Australia, taking him level with Michael Clarke and trailing only Sir Donald Bradman (18), Matthew Hayden (21) and Ricky Ponting (23). Still more impressive, though, was the Warner ratio of innings to centuries in matches down under. With a hundred every 4.06 innings, Warner is second only to Smith (3.92) and Bradman (2.77), leaving the previous best for an opener, Hayden's 4.66, well behind.
"I don't take any notice to be honest," Warner said in response to a question about those who say he only performs at home. "A lot of great players in the world haven't scored many hundreds away from their country, and my job is to score as many runs as I can when I'm at home and away. You don't go into those away series thinking you haven't scored hundreds here or anywhere. You've got to try your best for the team and for me it's about getting the team off to a good start and trying to wear down the bowlers."
If there was anything sobering for Australia on an evening when they marched off to stumps with Smith still to bat, it was the fact that the ratios of Bradman and Hayden were recorded in eras when the men in the baggy green were undeniably the world's best team. For Smith and Warner to peel off centuries with such punishing regularity without seeing Australia to the top of the world anymore than briefly is an indicator of the lack of support they have long had to endure.
That's why Labuschagne's hundred was, arguably, the more significant of the two innings, providing strong indications that maybe, just maybe, this Australian team is developing a depth of batting talent and performance that will allow them to genuinely challenge India in particular.
Justin Langer, Tim Paine and company can be forgiven for wanting to wait and see how the remainder of the summer goes before concluding they have got there, for Pakistan have long struggled to find their feet in Australia. How soon we forget that four summers ago, Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw were able to look like world-beaters against a team then led by Misbah-ul-Haq, now the coach.
It may well be the case that the pink ball, floodlit evening and evenly grassed Adelaide pitch would be more challenging to Australia in just about any other hands.