Opener Joe Burns' and No. 5 batsman Travis Head's centuries steered Australia out of serious early trouble Friday to put the home side in a strong position at 384/4 at Stumps on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka.
Burns, who reached three-figures first, ended a 113-day agony of the home team and fans who were desperate to see their batsmen score big. Incidentally, Usman Khawaja's match-saving 141 against Pakistan at Dubai was the only Test ton by a baggy green since the 2017-18 Ashes series.
After the 1-2 loss to India earlier this year, the Australians looked all set to endure their first century-less summer since 1882-83 (minimum three matches), but Burns and Head had other ideas.
The twin centuries also ended a drought of tons at home by Australian batsmen - 390 days to boot - going back to the 4-0 Ashes win early last year, when Mitchell Marsh hit 101 in the 2018 New Year's Test.
Left-arm fast bowler broke a 308-run fourth wicket partnership between the duo to give the visitors some respite. At the start of the day, Australia lost three wickets and was 28-3 before the drinks break in the first session after winning the toss and deciding to bat. But opener Burns and Head steadied the hosts to move Australia to 103-3 at lunch.
That was in stark contrast to the first 45 minutes, which were woeful for the home side.
Marcus Harris was out for 11 in the fourth over on a shot he probably shouldn't have played. The wide off-stump swinging delivery from Vishwa Fernando was hit straight to Chamika Karunaratne at point for the first Sri Lankan wicket.
Usman Khawaja was gone for a three-ball duck two overs later, also off Fernando's bowling, and Marnus Labuschagne was caught behind for six off Karunaratne's bowling. It was Karunaratne's first test wicket in his debut.
Khawaja entered the sixth and final Test of the Australian summer with only one half-century, a 72 against India in Perth.
To start the day, Paine, who had lost eight of nine previous coin tosses — the one exception being when Australia beat India at Perth — flipped with his left hand on Friday. He had no hesitation in deciding to bat, and Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal said he looked forward to getting some early wickets on the greenish track.
Paine named an unchanged side from the one that beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs in the first Test inside three days in Brisbane.
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal made four changes, with the biggest news that Suranga Lakmal would miss the second and final game with a stiff back. Kusal Perera, Fernando, Kasun Rajitha and Karunaratne were the newcomers.
It was the first-ever Test at Manuka Oval in Canberra, giving Australia its 11th Test venue.
(With AP inputs)