A Test century-drought stretching through the home summer series against India and Sri Lanka was finally ended on Friday by Joe Burns, who became the first Australian to reach three figures since October.
The opener, in his 16th Test, brought up his ton off 147 balls on a batting-friendly wicket in the second Test against Sri Lanka at Canberra.
It was the first for Australia since Usman Khawaja’s 141 against Pakistan in Dubai in October and only the second century an Australian has scored since the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney almost 13 months ago (January 2018).
Before Burns made his mark, Travis Head’s 84 in Brisbane against Sri Lanka was Australia’s highest score in five home Tests this season. In the series against India, Marcus Harris’ 79 in the fourth Test was the best effort by an Aussie batsman.
Incidentally, after having waited for so long, Burns’ ton was followed soon after by one for Head as well, who registered his first Test century.
The duo also recorded the first 200-run partnership of the summer for Australia, where the batsmen have especially struggled to make a mark. The partnership was finally broken after 308 runs when Head was dismissed for 161.
Australian skipper Tim Paine won the toss at the Manuka Oval and put his side in on a flat track conducive to batting, a gambit that looked to be paying off after some early wobbles.
At stumps, they reached 384 for 4 with Burns not out on 172 and Kurtis Patterson, who was dropped first ball, on 25.
The pair dug Australia out of a hole after they lost Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne cheaply to be in trouble at 28 for three.
(With AFP inputs)