Kiwis take command in Hobart

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New Zealand fought back valiantly to put themselves in a commanding position at stumps on day two of the second Test against Australia in Hobart on Saturday.

New Zealand fought back valiantly to put themselves in a commanding position at stumps on day two of the second Test against Australia in Hobart on Saturday.

The home side started the day with their overnight score of 12 for one after bowling the Black Caps out for 150 on day one. Australia replied with a lowly 136 all out before New Zealand ended the day on 139 for three – a lead of 153 with three days to play.

Australia found batting conditions just as tough early on day two and it wasn't long before the trouble started as Chris Martin was menacing with ball in hand and accounted for the wicket of David Warner who was suckered into the drive, but edged it to Ross Taylor at slip.

There was nothing to write home about for Ricky Ponting's knock as the former skipper lasted just 16 balls before he was trapped leg before wicket for five by Tim Southee. It was about as plumb as it could have been as the right-hander walked before even seeing the dreaded finger go up from the umpire.

Skipper Michael Clarke offered some resistance with his patient 22, but when he was bowled by Doug Bracewell he would have had thoughts of that fateful day in Cape Town last month when the Australians were bowled out for 47 by South Africa.

Usman Khawaja (seven), Mike Hussey (eight) and Brad Haddin (five) all then failed to reach double figures as the Kiwi bowlers had the home side reeling at 81 for seven at lunch.

After doing such a good job with the ball on day one Peter Siddle and James Pattinson would not have expected to find themselves together at the crease so early on Saturday, but they fought hard and managed to put on 56 runs for the eighth wicket. Siddle top scored for the Baggy Greens with 36 before he was caught at slip by Martin Guptill off Bracewell, while Pattinson was caught by Kane Williamson at gully off debutant Trent Boult for 17.

Boult then wrapped up the innings with the score on 136 when he trapped Nathan Lyon out lbw, giving New Zealand an unlikely 14-run lead.

In reply, New Zealand got off to a decent enough start as Guptill and Brendan McCullum took their side into the tea break at 29 without loss.

Upon resumption, the pair added another seven and put on 36 for the first wicket, taking the lead up to 50. But as has happened so often in this series, the New Zealanders were unable to build on the partnership as Pattinson had McCullum out caught by Phil Hughes for 12.

Four balls later, at the opposite end, Guptill was also gone when he pushed at a Siddle delivery and gave Haddin an easy catch behind the stumps and the Kiwis again found themselves struggling at 36 for two.

Coming in at number three, the burly Jesse Ryder looked somewhat shaky at the crease and became the third victim for the Australian bowlers. The left-hander was beaten with a Mike Hussey delivery down leg and stepped out of his crease for a fraction of a second which proved enough time for Brad Haddin show off his wicketkeeping skills and whip the bails off in a flash.

At 73 for three the match was still in the balance, but an unbeaten 66-run partnership between Williamson and Taylor saw the visitors through to the close of play.

Taylor finally found some form in the series as he finished the day unbeaten on 42, while Williamson supported with a fine 34 not out to finish on 139 for three. New Zealand go into the third day 153 runs to the good with seven second-innings wickets in hand.