Australia's tail did a 'bloody good' job - Martin
Two costly dropped catches on the third day basically ended New Zealand's chances of toppling Australia, but Chris Martin, the fast bowler, still held out hope of a "little miracle" despite his side losing six second-innings wickets. Opener Simon Katich was missed twice before Australia's lead reached 230 and they went on to set the visitors an unlikely 327 for victory.
"They were crucial," Martin said of the catches. "For many touring teams that come to Australia, how you field seems to define whether you win or lose. We did put a couple down, but for the majority of the game we have fielded well."
In the first innings the catching was very sharp as Australia were dismissed for 214, but the young side was unable to stay in touch and finished the third day at 6 for 143. Ross Taylor was strong off both feet during a sensible 67 not out while Daniel Vettori will start in the morning after Grant Elliott was bowled offering no shot to the final ball.
"We still think we have a chance," Martin said. "We've got Roscoe [Taylor] out there playing very well and we just have to keep the faith in our captain and hope the sort of the performance the Australian tail did today, we can potentially put on ourselves. It is going to be a big ask, it is going to be a little bit of a miracle, but it's something we will be trying hard for."
Martin captured 3 for 69 to lead the New Zealand attack but they were unable to replicate their penetrative displays earlier in the game as the pitch flattened out. "I was happy actually," Martin said of his bowling. "Last night was one of the more memorable evenings I've had. We got our tired and worn bodies out there [on Saturday] and did our best, but to get that many runs with the tail was a bloody good effort."
After Australia were dismissed, Stuart Clark, who was dropped in Nagpur, returned to wicket-taking form with 3 for 23 off 12 overs. He finished with the crucial dismissal of Elliott after picking up a contentious lbw against Brendon McCullum and a sharp caught-and-bowled to dismiss Aaron Redmond.
Brett Lee had started the innings by breaking through with his third ball to remove Jamie How and capture his 300th Test victim. "It was great, a sweet feeling, to know you've achieved that milestone," he said. "You don't play for those reasons, but it's a nice pat on the back for the hard work." Aged 32, he has readjusted his sights on 400.
After being sick in India and struggling with his form, Lee was excited to be back on bouncy home surfaces and will continue his push to regain full fitness. "I want to touch the 150kph barrier, as I get strength back," he said. "I'm still fighting as hard as I can to get the strength back that I lost in India, but now I feel a billion times better."
He said his recent experiences, with his form struggles and family troubles, were different to overcoming an injury. "I've been up against a brick wall the last couple of months," he said. "Now I feel like I'm back to where I want to be bowling."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo