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01-Feb-2019 08:44:00 GMT
Aus v SL - 2nd Test, Canberra, day 1

Burns and Head punish toothless Sri Lanka

Australia 4 for 384 (Burns 172*, Head 161, Fernando 3-99) v Sri Lanka

Canberra: Joe Burns and Travis Head plundered Australia's first centuries of the home summer Friday in a stirring fightback as they ruthlessly exposed Sri Lanka's inexperienced attack in the second Test at Canberra.

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 paid off after some early wobbles.

At stumps, they were a commanding 384 for four with Burns not out 172 and Kurtis Patterson, who was dropped first ball, on 25.

Head fell for 161 after a 308-run stand with Burns -- Australia's first stand over 200 since Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh achieved the feat in the third Test against England in December 2017.

Vishwa Fernando was the best of the bowlers with 3-99.

On a cool, overcast day, Burns and Head 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.

After weathering the storm and as the new ball lost its shine, the pair started cashing in on a Sri Lankan attack missing their top bowlers and fieldsmen who put down a host of chances.

Back in the side after being overlooked for the series against Pakistan and India, opener Burns survived a dropped catch on 34, but was otherwise invincible and brought up his fourth Test ton off 147 balls with a single.

His 172 surpassed his previous high score of 170 against New Zealand in 2016.

Burns' knock was the first century for Australia since Khawaja's 141 against Pakistan in Dubai in October and only the second an Australian has scored since the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney almost 13 months ago.

Vice-captain Head soon followed suit, reaching his maiden hundred off 155 balls in his eighth Test with a boundary, capitalising on Dilruwan Perera dropping him on 87.

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