Melbourne: New Zealand were facing a massive run chase to save the second Test and the series after they were dismissed for 148 in Melbourne on Saturday, with Australia batting again to rub salt in the wounds and extend their lead.
At the close on day three, the home team were 137 for four, building on their first innings 467 to be 456 runs in front.
First innings century-maker Travis Head was not out 12 and Matthew Wade was on 15, with skipper Tim Paine so far resisting the temptation to declare.
New Zealand began the day already in trouble on 44 for two, having lost batting kingpin Kane Williamson and makeshift opener Tom Blundell in a fiery bowling spell late Friday.
They didn’t survive long with a world-class pace barrage from Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc destroying their middle order.
Paine could have enforced the follow-on, but opted to bat again and Australia raced to 62 without loss before Neil Wagner tempted David Warner into a drive on 38 and he was caught by Blundell.
Form-player Marnus Labuschagne was run out for 19 and spinner Mitchell Santner snared opener Joe Burns for 35, caught behind off a bottom edge.
When Steve Smith departed for seven, Wagner’s 200th Test wicket, the Black Caps were on a roll. But Head and Wade steered them to the close, leaving New Zealand with a monumental task.
They need a result to keep the three-Test series alive after being crushed by 296 runs in the opening day-night clash in Perth.
Opener Tom Latham was the only one to offer resistance in their first innings demolition, surviving 144 balls in a dogged 50 before he too succumbed to the Australian fast-bowling machine.
The world’s top bowler Cummins was the chief destroyer, ending with 5-28.
They resumed with Latham on nine with Ross Taylor on two, but had a disastrous morning and went to lunch at 102 for six, before Australia finished the job. The experienced Taylor was removed in just the third over and Henry Nicholls followed for a golden duck as they crumbled under consistent pace and accuracy.
Cummins was virtually unplayable, with Taylor getting an edge to a searing delivery on four. Labuschagne juggled the slip catch and Burns grabbed the ball.
A stunned Nicholls was then out lbw after unsuccessfully reviewing the decision, before BJ Watling nervously managed to defend Cummins’ hat-trick ball.
At the other end, Pattinson, playing for the injured Josh Hazlewood, was equally menacing and Latham should have gone the next over, but a diving Smith put down a slip catch he would normally hold.
Meanwhile, left-arm pacer Trent Boult will return to New Zealand after the completion of the second Test after he suffered another injury on Saturday. Thus, he will not be able to participate in the third and final Test beginning January 3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Boult suffered a fracture to the second-metacarpal of his right hand, his non-bowling hand while batting on Saturday. New Zealand Cricket confirmed that he will require around four weeks of rehabilitation. “A replacement player will be confirmed in due course,” NZC said on Twitter.
Australia (1st innings) 467 all out
New Zealand (1st innings)
Tom Latham c Paine b Cummins 50
Ross Taylor c Burns b Cummins 4
Henry Nicholls lbw Cummins 0
BJ Watling c Burns b Pattinson 7
Colin de G’homme c Warner b Starc 11
Mitchell Santner c Paine b Pattinson 3
Tim Southee c Paine b Cummins 10
Neil Wagner Not Out 18
Trent Boult b Starc 8
Extras (4b 4lb 3nb 0pen 2w) 13
Total (54.5 overs) 148 all out
Fall of Wickets : 3-46, 4-46, 5-58, 6-97, 7-112, 8-116, 9-124, 10-148
Bowling: Starc 12.5 4 30 2; Cummins 17 5 28 5; Pattinson 15 2 34 3; Lyon 9 1 35 0; Wade 1 0 13 0.
Australia (2nd innings)
David Warner c Blundell b Wagner 38
Joe Burns c Watling b Santner 35
Marnus Labuschagne Run Out 19
Steven Smith c Southee b Wagner 7
Matthew Wade Not Out 15
Travis Head Not Out 12
Extras 4b 4lb 1nb 0pen 2w 11
Total (45.0 overs) 137-4
Fall of Wickets : 1-62, 2-100, 3-110, 4-110.
Bowling: Boult 9 0 30 0; Southee 10 3 24 0; de Grandhomme 5 0 14 0; Wagner 13 1 39 2; Santner 8 0 22 1.