Opening batsman Joe Burns and Travis Head helped Australia recover from a poor start to take control of the second test against Sri Lanka in Canberra.

They both scored centuries and put on 308 runs for the fourth wicket as Australia reached 384 for the loss of four wickets at stumps on day one.

Australia had a nightmare start to the second test, losing three early wickets.

Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne were unable to navigate the probing new ball swing. However, soon it became a day to forget for the tourists.

Head joined Burns with the score on 28 for three and the match swung in the Aussies favour as they dismantled Sri Lanka’s attack.

They were the major contributors to Australia’s 51 boundaries and two sixes for a historic first day test. Sri Lanka’s fielding was questionable as the hosts benefited.

In their quest to steady the ship, Burns was given a life line on 34 which proved to be costly for Sri Lanka. They also dropped Head, a chance going down off Kasun Rajitha when the left-hander was on 87. Burns was the first to reach his century, from 147 deliveries.

The duo had added 192 in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand to take the hosts to 220 for three at tea. Head brought up his milestone with a drive after Dilruwan Perera sent down a full toss. They increased the aggression after reaching their centuries. Sri Lanka thought they had dismissed Head for 148, but replays showed the ball hit the ground after his foot.

He continued to be aggressive and was given another life on 155 as Dhananjaya de Silva dropped a return ball. Finally a breakthrough came the way of Sri Lanka.

Vishwa Fernando trapped Head LBW to send him back to the pavilion for 161. Burns batted the entire day and was on 172 at stumps with Kurtis Patterson on 25.