Openers David Warner and Phillip Hughes gave Australia a strong platform for victory over New Zealand before rain ended play early on the third day of the second Test on Sunday.
The two New South Wales left-handers put on 72 without loss off 19 overs to give the Australians a flying start as they chase 241 at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval to wrap up a two-nil series win over the Black Caps.
Australia thrashed New Zealand by nine wickets in the first Test in Brisbane last week. No play was possible after tea, with Warner on 47 off 50 balls with eight boundaries and a concentrated Hughes not out 20 from 64 deliveries.
Australia will push for victory on Monday, requiring 169 more runs with all 10 wickets intact. A total of 30 wickets have fallen in the eight of sessions play in a Hobart Test where the ball has dominated the bat.
Neither opener had too many troubles, although “Hot Spot” replays suggested Hughes may have gloved a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Reece Young off Chris Martin in the third over before he had scored, but the Kiwis did not seek a review.
Hughes is seeking a big innings to ease pressure on his Test spot after three cheap dismissals in the series. The Kiwis, leading by 14 runs on the first innings, lost seven wickets for 87 in the extended morning session to be all out for 226 at lunch after resuming the day at 139 for three.
The Black Caps unravelled after the loss of skipper Ross Taylor and Dean Brownlie, with their frail tail throwing the bat at the Australian bowlers.
James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and spinner Nathan Lyon shared the wickets. Taylor top-scored with 56 off 169 balls.