Millennium Post

Warner, Khawaja tons as Oz pile misery on Kiwis

David Warner backed up his words with action as he hit his 13th Test century while recalled Usman Khawaja claimed his maiden ton as Australia took an iron grip on their Test series opener against New Zealand on Thursday.

The outspoken Warner, who vowed an aggressive Australian approach to the three-Test series, lived up to his feisty words with his second-highest Test score against an underwhelming Kiwi bowling attack at the Gabba.

With Warner plundering 163 runs off 224 balls, the Australians pounded the ragged Black Caps to go to stumps at 389 for two and a record first day Test score.

Khawaja also cashed in reaching his first Test century just before the close and was unbeaten on 102 with skipper Steve Smith not out on 41.

Along the way Smith raised 1,000 Test runs in the calendar year.

Warner was finally out to one of his few false strokes of the day, but it took a marvellous one-handed catch above Ross Taylor’s head at slip to snare his prized wicket off James Neesham.

The irrepressible left-hander smashed 22 fours and one six for his second-highest Test score behind his 180 against India in Perth almost three years ago.

Only four Australian openers -- Matt Hayden (30), Mark Taylor (19), Justin Langer (16) and Michael Slater (14) -- have amassed more Test centuries than Warner’s 13.

Warner shared in two mammoth stands with Joe Burns (161) and Khawaja (150) to have the Australians in full flow at a ground where they have not lost a Test match since 1988.

Pakistan-born Khawaja put down a huge down payment on a regular Test spot with a silky hundred after a stop-start career in his previous nine Tests since making his debut against England in Sydney in 2011. The elegant Khawaja carried on the momentum with his maiden Test ton off 123 balls after new opener Burns had shared in a big opening stand with Warner to overpower the Black Caps on the opening day of the series.     

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