BRISBANE: Australia opener David Warner scored his first century since January as the hosts took control of the opening day of the first test against New Zealand on Thursday, reaching 222 for one at tea.

Warner was unbeaten on 113 at the break with Usman Khawaja, who came to the crease after opener Joe Burns departed for 71, looking comfortable alongside him on 30 not out.

Now one of Australia's senior players after the retirement of a string of seasoned internationals, Warner displayed maturity as well as his trademark aggression in an innings that set the tone for two sessions of dominance by the hosts.

Following a string of failures to convert good starts during the Ashes series earlier this year, the 29-year-old's 13th test century came up in 141 balls with 13 fours and one huge straight six.

Warner leaped high into the air in celebration after tucking the ball through cover point for two runs off New Zealand spinner Mark Craig.

Australia have not lost a test at the Gabba since 1988 and an end to that streak looked less likely when new captain Steve Smith won the toss and elected to bat.

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum needed his highly rated strike duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee to get the ball swinging while the cloud cover was still over the ground.

Unfortunately for the tourists, it was not to be for long and once Australia's new opening partnership had weathered five overs of the new ball, Warner first, and then Burns, were able to ease into their stride.

Burns, playing on his home ground in only his third test, flirted with calamity when he dashed off for a single in the 10th over and was fortunate that New Zealand skipper McCullum missed the stumps with his throw.

That was a rare clear-cut chance for the Blacks Caps and Warner secured his half century just before lunch with Burns joining him with one of his own four overs into the second session.

Burns put on another 21 runs before his first innings of his first test as an opener came to an end when Southee gave a reminder of his quality with a peach of a ball that drew an edge that BJ Watling snaffled up behind the stumps.

New Zealand were hoping to target Khawaja in his first test for more than two years but the 28-year-old looked anything but nervous as he put on 61 with Warner before the break.