Hobart: Dec 10, 2011
New Zealand led Australia by 153 runs after day two of the fast-moving second Test on Saturday, aiming to build a decisive second innings lead after rattling the hosts out for just 136.
A total of 23 wickets have fallen in two days on a drying greentop wicket at Hobart's Bellerive Oval, with a result looking likely before Tuesday's scheduled last day.
The Black Caps, looking to redeem themselves after a nine-wicket defeat in last week's first Test in Brisbane, were 139 for three at the close after taking a 14-run first innings lead.
At stumps, runs were coming easier for the Kiwis on an improving pitch with skipper Ross Taylor on 42 and Kane Williamson not out 34 in an unbroken 66-run stand.
The highest fourth innings run chase at Bellerive is Australia's 369 for six against Pakistan in 1999.
Three Kiwi wickets fell after tea, with openers Brendon McCullum snapped up by Phil Hughes off James Pattinson for 12 and Martin Guptill caught behind off Peter Siddle for 16.
Jesse Ryder carelessly fell to a leg-side stumping by Brad Haddin off part-timer Mike Hussey for 16 after he momentarily lifted his back foot out of the crease.
Pacemen Siddle and Pattinson helped the Australians avoid their lowest Test score against the Kiwis with a 56-run eighth-wicket stand after the home side lurched to lunch at 81 for seven.
Australia laboured in their pursuit of the Kiwis' first innings of 150 and at one stage were on track for their lowest Test total against New Zealand of 103 set in Auckland in 1986.
But Siddle (36) and Pattinson (17) saved their blushes with their partnership as the Bellerive pitch began to play more easily after its first-day demons.
New Zealand's all-pace attack kept the Australians under the gun with Chris Martin (3-46), Trent Boult (3-29) and Doug Bracewell (3-20) among the wickets.
Australia lost six wickets in the extended morning session after resuming at 12 for one following Friday's loss of Phil Hughes for four.
David Warner only lasted 17 minutes into the second day before he nicked Martin to Taylor at first slip for 15.
Ricky Ponting walked before he was given out leg before wicket for five after playing Tim Southee across his pads.
It was the fifth time in his last six Test innings that the former Australia captain was out leg before, and he has now gone 30 innings since his last Test century.
Ponting's last big knock was 209 against Pakistan almost two years ago in Hobart.
Usman Khawaja's 51-ball vigil ended when he edged Martin to wicketkeeper Reece Young for seven in 77 minutes to leave Australia 35 for four.
Mike Hussey tried to get his bat out of the way of a Boult lifter only to bottom-edge a catch to Young for eight and send Australia reeling at 58 for five.
Haddin was out to a loose shot finding McCullum at mid-off for five and giving Bracewell his first wicket.
Michael Clarke did not offer a shot and was surprised by Bracewell's low bounce to be bowled for 22.
But Siddle and Pattinson eased Australia past their trans-Tasman Test lowest score before Siddle was caught in the slips by Guptill off Bracewell and Pattinson fell in the next over, brilliantly pocketed in the gully by Williamson off Boult.
Boult took his third wicket in his debut Test trapping Mitchell Starc lbw for four.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 150 & 139 for 3 (Ross Taylor 42*, Kane Williamson 34*; Peter Siddle 1 for 29, Michale Hussey 1 for 15) lead Australia 136 (Peter Siddle 36, Michael Clarke 22; Doug Bracewell 3 for 20, Chris Martin 3 for 46) by 153 runs.