Australia pace attack destroys New Zealand in Melbourne

Kiwis trail by 456 after Pat Cummins claims five wickets

New Zealand were bowled out for 148 as Australia’s intimidating pace attack exposed a struggling middle order on day three of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The relentlessly accurate Pat Cummins claimed 5-28, removing four of New Zealand’s top five batsmen. World No 1 bowler Cummins received strong support from fellow quicks James Pattinson (3-34) and Mitchell Starc (2-30).

Holding a 319-run lead on the first innings, Australia chose not to enforce the follow on and reached 137-4 at stumps, a lead of 456 runs with two days remaining.

Australia's openers Joe Burns (35) and David Warner (38) added 62, while Marnus Labuschagne made 19.

New Zealand pace bowler Neil Wagner pitched short and Steve Smith was caught at backward square leg for seven at 110-4, as Wagner (4-83 and 2-39) continued his dominance over the world No 2 batsman. The prized wicket of Smith was also Wagner’s 200th Test wicket in his 46th match.

New Zealand had resumed on Saturday on 44-2 and lost eight wickets for 104 runs in a total of 148 in response to Australia’s 467.

Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls and B.J. Watling all failed to reach double figures, before Colin de Grandhomme fell for 11 as New Zealand wobbled to 102-6 at lunch.

Cummins was on a hat-trick in the third over of the day after removing Taylor (4) caught at first slip and Nicholls (first-ball duck) lbw in consecutive deliveries.

Opener Tom Latham played a determined knock of 50 before he was caught behind off Cummins at 112-7 after lunch.

Cummins picked up the fifth five-wicket haul of his career when he dismissed Tim Southee caught behind for 10. Cummins is the leading wicket-taker in test cricket in 2019 with 59 in 12 matches.

On Friday, Travis Head (114) shared a 150-run partnership with skipper Tim Paine (79) to tilt the game firmly in Australia’s favour.

Australia lead the three-match series after winning the first Test by 296 runs in Perth. The final Test will be played in Sydney starting on January 3.