New Zealand fall behind powerful Australia
New Zealand 108 for 4 (Vettori 42*) trail Australia 459 for 5 dec (Clarke 168, North 112*, Katich 79) by 351 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
After being overwhelmed by Michael Clarke and Marcus North in the field, New Zealand watched their top order fail to leave them facing a massive task to save the Test. Clarke's outstanding 168, his highest score, and a career-saving century from North allowed Australia to declare at 459 for 5 and the hosts limped to 108 for 4 at stumps on the second day.
Doug Bollinger struck in the first over of New Zealand's reply and they were 43 for 4 when the left-armer removed Ross Taylor, the side's main batsman. Daniel Vettori, the No.6, scrambled an entertaining 42 to stop the damage in combination with the more subdued Martin Guptill, who had 19.
New Zealand were relieved the declaration came so soon - it arrived less than an hour after lunch - but their cheer was brief. BJ Watling was lbw first ball to Bollinger, who got one to swing back, and Peter Ingram (5) was run out by Mitchell Johnson's stunning kick on to the stumps in his follow-through. Tim McIntosh wanted a quick single but it was a horrible call and Johnson saved himself some crucial time by not bothering to bend over for the pick-up. Everything was going Australia's way.
McIntosh lasted to tea but soon became Ryan Harris' first wicket on debut - replays showed a tight no-ball - when he followed some short deliveries with a full one that was squirted to Michael Hussey in the gully. Twelve runs later Taylor was forced into an edge to Clarke, who dived to his right to collect another memorable moment from an unforgettable game.
At the time Bollinger had 2 for 3 off 5.1, including four maidens, and he finished with 2 for 21. The pitch was still good for batting, but Australia's bowlers were enjoying operating against an un-fancied line-up. It was such hard work for the top order that there were nine maidens in the first 14 overs.
Australia rarely stalled in their innings. Clarke was classy again while North made sure of the No.6 spot with an unbeaten 112 as the visitors dominated through a 253-run partnership. Clarke followed up his aggressive play on the first afternoon with another bright performance and was putting the team situation ahead of his ambitions for a double-century when he was stumped off Vettori.
North brought up his fourth hundred in 14 Tests - and his first significant contribution of the season - with a top edged pull off Chris Martin and celebrated the change of fortune by jumping, punching the air and kissing his helmet badge. Clarke had helped North relax on both days and was the leading man, scoring 151 to North's 93 in the fifth-wicket record for Australia against New Zealand.
After lunch Clarke charged at Vettori to loft over mid-off and overhaul his previous highest score, the 166 he gained against Pakistan in Hobart in January. Clarke went at Vettori again and was beaten down the legside by a late-drifting slower delivery to give the bowler his first breakthrough. During the 253-ball innings Clarke collected 22 fours and two sixes in an impressive display, especially when considering the break-up of his engagement and subsequent publicity over the past fortnight.
He was responsible for Australia's strong first-day position and he wasted no time in making it even better after they resumed at 316 for 4. North tended to avoid the flourishes of Clarke and added 32 for the opening session before becoming more aggressive after lunch.
Starting with a crisp off drive in the first over of the morning, he brought up the 200-run partnership with a back-foot push off Vettori. North slog-swept a fierce six off Vettori to move to 90 and struck him for another two boundaries after his century. He accumulated 11 fours and two sixes during five hours at the crease.
New Zealand were so disciplined for the opening two sessions on day one, but were unable to recapture the line. Martin and Tim Southee could not contain while Vettori and Daryl Tuffey were able to slow things down at times. What they really missed was a fast bowler like Shane Bond who could ruffle the batsmen and take wickets. Brent Arnel, the debutant, was the most successful with 2 for 89, but the best moment for the attack came when Ponting called his batsmen in.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo