Century-makers Joe Burns and Steve Smith shredded the New Zealand attack to have Australia in charge of the second Test, before both fell in the dying stages of day two in Christchurch today.
Burns hit a career best 170, his third century, and Smith made 138, his 14th, as Australia ended the day at a commanding 363-4 in reply to New Zealand’s 370.
After Brendon McCullum’s 145-run blitz gave New Zealand the first day honours on a green, seaming wicket, Burns and his captain Smith ensured the momentum swung Australia’s way as the pitch flattened out.
Burns spent a lot of time successfully fighting off Neil Wagner’s short-ball tactic before eventually pulling one to Martin Guptill at square leg with 28 balls left in the day.
Five balls later, in a repeat scenario, Guptill gave Wagner his second wicket and Smith was gone.
Adam Voges was on two with Nathan Lyon, sent in as nightwatchman, on four.
Until Smith’s dismissal, the only moment of concern in his classy innings came when he was felled by a fearsome Wagner bouncer in the last over before tea.
He lay prone on the ground for a few moments, but as the New Zealand players rushed to his aid, Smith staggered to his feet and after medical attention he resumed his innings with a single off the next ball.
Burns spent 434 minutes in the middle from the start of the Australian innings and in a patient stand easily eclipsed his previous Test best of 129, also against New Zealand, in Brisbane last November.
He received a vital reprieve after he was given out, caught behind for 35, only for the umpire’s decision to be overturned when replays showed the ball had glanced off his arm and not the glove.