Australia will look to grind Sri Lanka into the ground after smashing the visitors on day one in Canberra.
After wobbling to 3/28, Joe Burns and Travis Head hit centuries in a record-breaking 308-run fourth-wicket stand that drove the hosts to 4/384 at stumps.
Burns was unbeaten on 172 with Kurtis Patterson off to another solid start at 25 not out, but only after Head had compiled a stylish 161 to post his maiden Test century.
Play on day two is scheduled to begin at 10.30am.
Burns delivers emotional address
Joe Burns, an understated Queenslander who generally prefers his bat to do the talking, gave the most underrated press conference of the summer after spending all day at the crease in Canberra.
Buoyed by a knock of 172 not out that was Australia’s first century in far too long, Burns perfectly displayed what it means for our under-siege cricketers to play, and perform, for their country.
Asked what he was thinking when he reached triple figures, Burns aptly summed up the moment. “Probably just you bloody beauty. Just pure elation … I just wanted to kiss the badge on my helmet and just celebrate it,” he said.
“We went to the War Memorial the other day and to have that sense of your country and how lucky we are to play cricket for Australia … bloody hell, you just want to make runs for the Australian people. To get the chance to get to 100 and have the crowd applaud you like that, there’s nothing better.”
Burns was also thrilled for his partner-in-crime Travis Head, who posted his century soon after. “I was over the moon for him,” Burns said.
“To see the hard work he’s done all summer and for a number of years — playing against him (in Shield cricket) you know how good a player he was — it’s one of those innings today that will get him started in his Test career and get that first one out of the way and open the floodgates.
“I just wanted to hug him as hard as I could and for as long as I could and to keep batting with him. It was really enjoyable.”
Burns finally has his reward after spending time not knowing when his next opportunity would come in Test cricket after four games and three axings in two-and-a-half years.
The Queenslander had compiled a career-high score of 172 not out at stumps, topping his 170 in February 2016 against New Zealand.
But after that knock against the Black Caps, he was dropped three times and forced to fight his way back through the Sheffield Shield.
Burns was sacked midway through Australia’s 2016 loss in Sri Lanka, given a reprieve in Hobart later that year, and dropped again after the South African flogging.
His next chance came in the final Test of last year’s South African tour after the ball-tampering saga with Australia short on stocks, before again being overlooked in October for Pakistan in the UAE.
“It can be tough. Obviously extreme circumstances in how (the two different returns) unfolded,” Burns said.
“That’s not just cricket — that’s life sometimes. You can’t plan too far ahead and just take the good. You never know when’s your last Test match or when you could be out of the team.
“I think every player, when you’re out of the team, you wonder if the opportunities that were there in the past will be there in the future.”
Burns’ responses in recent years have been clear. He hit 725 runs at 55.76 in last season’s Shield before the late call-up in South Africa, and had to again knock the door down this summer with an average of 47.20 in the domestic competition before being called up last week for Brisbane. Retained for the first time in two years, he wouldn’t miss his opportunity again.
— with AAP