Sport Cricket Second Test: Australia builds lead to 456 as NZ struggles
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Second Test: Australia builds lead to 456 as NZ struggles

Pat Cummins and teammates celebrate his breakthroughs during the third over the day. Photo: AAP
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Second Test, day three, MCG

First innings: Australia 467, New Zealand 148

Second innings: Australia 4-137, stumps

Wade 12, Head 15

Despite losing wickets cheaply, Australia has taken its lead against New Zealand to 456 on day three of the second Test at the MCG.

At stumps Australia had reached 4-137, piling on the misery after the tourists slumped in their first innings to just 148.

Aussie paceman Pat Cummins took 5-28 to smash through the Black Caps and establish a first innings lead of 319.

Australia did not enforce the follow on and openers David Warner and Joe Burns spent an hour building the lead before Warner was caught for 38 off Neil Wagner.

A nervous Burns played a slow but patient second innings after falling for a golden duck in his first dig. He eventually fell for 35 off 100 balls when Mitchell Santner got the finest edge to the keeper.

Marnus Labuschagne also feel cheaply for 19 when he was run out going for a cheeky single. Steve Smith (seven) fell to Wagner for the fourth time in the series when he was caught at backward square by Tim Southee.

Wagner was the best of the NZ bowlers with 2-39.

Cummins set up Australia’s big first innings lead with two wickets in just his second over of the day and after the lunch break also had the stubborn Tom Latham caught behind after his fighting innings of 50 off 144 balls.

The paceman told Channel Seven at the change of innings that he felt he’d been rewarded for effort.

“I feel like I’ve been bowling really well,” he said. “I was happy in Perth. I didn’t get the wickets but we’ve been winning so I’m happy.

Cummins also praised his teammate James Pattinson who snared 3-34

“The big Victorian. Jimmy was brilliant. To think what he’s been through the last couple of years, back surgery, rehab, to be back out in front of fans, we know how good he is.”

Cummins first struck in the third over of the day, having Ross Taylor caught in slips for just four in the first ball of his second over.

He followed up next ball to have Harry Nicholls lbw for a golden duck. Nicholls reviewed the decision, but the umpire’s call stood.

The Black Caps had crashed to 4-46, chasing Australia’s first innings  score of 467.

Shortly after Pattinson had BJ Watling (7) edging to Joe Burns in the slips – New Zealand 5-58.

On the edge of knocking up their 100, the Black Caps slumped again when Colin de Grandhomme was caught by David Warner in the gully off the bowling of Mitchell Starc for 11.

Starc was stiff not to have Mitch Santner out soon after when a DRS review appeared to clearly show an edge from the sweatband on his glove and yet the third umpire stayed with the original decision of not out.

Cummins went to the lunch break with figures of 3-17, with Pattinson 2-19 and the Black Caps at 6-102.

At the break Pattinson said his teammate had set the game up for Australia.

“[It’s] pretty good, when you get four wickets in the first session it’s always really good,” Pattinson told Channel Seven.

Patty [Cummins] started brilliantly, he is the best in the world for a reason and he showed that this morning.”

The tourists started the day with skipper Kane Williamson and new opener Tom Blundell already back in the sheds after Cummins and Pattinson had struck in the final hour of play on day two.

Cummins had Blundell caught behind for just 15, while the returning Pattinson had the dangerous Williamson caught by Tim Paine for nine after he skyed a big hit.

Australia’s big lead came after Travis Head became the first South Australian-born player since Andrew Hilditch in 1984 to score a Test ton at the MCG.

Head’s 114 off 234 balls came after he’d been tipped to be the man dropped if Australia had opted for five bowlers in this Test, although his skipper Paine told cricket.com.au that it was mostly a feint to upset New Zealand.