Astle and Parore turn the heat on Australia

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Australians have grown used to record-breaking days in Test cricket in recent years. But not often do all the records go against them as they did on the second day of the Third Test against New Zealand here yesterday.

Nathan Astle and Adam Parore enjoyed a huge day in the sun, positing landmark after landmark as they took the New Zealanders to an imposing first innings total of 534 for 9 declared – the highest total Australia have conceded at home since 1992-3 when Brian Lara scored 277 for the West Indies, who made 606, at Sydney.

Australia lost Matthew Hayden for a duck and a dangerous looking Ricky Ponting for 31 on their way to 75 for 2 by the close as they chased 335 to avoid the follow on. The three-match series stands at 0-0 after two rain affected draws, and Australia look unlikely, barring a miraculous batting performance, to extend their remarkable series-winning sequence at home which stretches back to 1993-4 when they drew with South Africa.

Astle, who was unbeaten on 156, and Parore, who made 110, put on 253 for the eighth wicket in 308 minutes. The partnership was a record for New Zealand for any wicket against Australia, the second highest eighth-wicket partnership in Test history and the highest eighth-wicket stand by anyone against Australia.

Perhaps most remarkably, following the hundreds by debutant Lou Vincent and captain Stephen Fleming on the first day, it was the first time Australia had conceded four individual centuries in the same innings since the First Test against England at Trent Bridge back in 1938. It was only the ninth time in history that it had happened anywhere.

Ironically, a late collapse on the first day had left the tourists in trouble, and they began the day on a precarious 293 for 7. They did not lose another wicket until the final session. Parore and Astle added 70 runs in the morning session and another 104 in the middle session plus 67 after tea before Parore, 30 was finally out in the third over with the third new ball and the 163rd over of the innings.

Astle, who is also 30, cracked 22 fours and one six in his 408-minute innings which yielded his seventh Test century while Parore's 308-minute innings included 14 fours and one six and was his second Test hundred.

Though Parore said the innings and partnership were the highlights of his career he said he was not writing Australia off just yet. "It would be a mistake to think only one team could win it from here," he said.

"There's still 300-odd overs of cricket left and they're a pretty good side. They won't just roll over and die. We're going to have to play pretty well to force a win."