Brisbane (Australia): David Warner blazed his 20th Test half-century as Australia took early charge over New Zealand on the opening day of the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane today.
The irrepressible left-hander broke through early shackles to bring up his 50 off 69 balls with eight fours and a towering six to put his team on top after winning the toss.
At lunch, Australia were 100 without loss with Warner unbeaten on 54 and new opener Joe Burns not out 43.
There were worrying signs for the Black Caps, looking for their first series win in Australia for 30 years, as they comprehensively lost the opening session of the three-Test series with Warner in the mood for a big score.
A nervous Burns took 19 balls to get off the mark with a square drive to the boundary ropes as New Zealand’s pace pair Tim Southee and Trent Boult kept the Australian pair under early wraps.
But ominously for the Kiwis, Warner began to open up after being tied down for 35 minutes and he cracked two fours in Southee’s fifth over.
Skipper Brendon McCullum tried to vary his attack by placing eight men on the off-side for Warner, facing Southee, only to quickly change the field setting.
McCullum brought Doug Bracewell into the attack for Boult in the 12th over and off-spinner Mark Craig an over later for Southee.
But the Australian pair safely negotiated the opening hour and reached drinks at 37 without loss with Warner on 28 and Burns eight.
Burns clouted Craig for two lofted fours over mid-off in a growing sign of confidence playing on his home Gabba wicket.
The Black Caps had a review for leg before wicket on Warner (39) off Bracewell but it was turned down after replays showed the ball pitching outside leg stump.
Warner was quickly back into the action and smashed Bracewell straight over the sight screen for six to near his half-century.
He then scurried through for an all-run four to raise his 50 with the Kiwis struggling to contain him nearing lunch.