Shawcross leaped above the Burnley defence to head home for Stoke
Burnley were taught a harsh lesson on their Premier League debut as Stoke scored from two first-half set pieces to secure a comfortable victory.
The Clarets, playing their first top-flight game for 33 years, fell behind when Ryan Shawcross rose unchallenged to nod in Liam Lawrence's free-kick.
Stephen Jordan then inadvertently glanced a trademark Rory Delap throw-in into his own net to put Stoke 2-0 up.
Wade Elliott's shot grazed the bar as Burnley improved after half-time.
It was always going to be a tough task for the Clarets against a side that only lost four times at home in the league last season, three of those to Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton.
Stoke went into the match confident that there will be no so-called second-season syndrome with boss Tony Pulis urging his players to reproduce the siege mentality that made them so strong at home last term.
Neither side was able to get a hold of the game in a scrappy opening 20 minutes, with Stoke's chief threat coming from Delap, but the visitors repelled the first three of his throw-ins with ease.
Pulis glad to seal early win at home
However, while they looked comfortable at the back, the new boys struggled to make any attacking use of the scraps of possession they were allowed.
Robbie Blake, who has tasted Premier League football with Bradford and Birmingham in the last decade, had their best effort, but his low 25-yard shot was straight at City keeper Thomas Sorensen.
Ricardo Fuller's mazy run down the left was brought to a premature end by Tyrone Mears' clumsy challenge and from Lawrence's floated free-kick, Shawcross headed back across goal to open the scoring.
The goal appeared to unsettle Burnley and they fell further behind when Jordan failed to deal with a fourth Delap throw-in at the near post.
Clarke Carlisle then cleared a Fuller header off the line to prevent Stoke going in to the half-time break further ahead.
Elliott, who scored Burnley's play-off final winner against Sheffield United at Wembley in May, set the tone for a livelier second-half with a rising drive, as the Clarets began the second period strongly.
Coyle wants Burnley to cut out errors
Chris McCann's shot was blocked after Graham Alexander's right-wing free-kick found its way to him via Blake, while record £3m summer signing Steven Fletcher tested City keeper Sorensen with a stinging drive from 10 yards.
City, who seemed happy to sit back and hit on the counter-attack, came close to adding a third when substitute Dave Kitson found some space down the left, but his powerful shot came back off the crossbar.
It was a tough baptism for Burnley who host Manchester United and Everton at Turf Moor in their next two Premier League games.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis: "It was a smashing result.
"It is important that we maintain our form at home again this season - we need to make this place a fortress again.
"It was a scrappy game but the first game of the season is always difficult to call, so we'll take the win anyway it comes."
Burnley manager Owen Coyle: "There's a mixture of emotions as I'm disappointed to come away with nothing but I thought we contributed enough to get something.
"We showed that we can pass and create chances, but the margins for error in the Premier League are minimal and we were harshly punished for ours.
"We lost two poor goals and it's something we must eradicate. We can't gift goals."
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