Australia takes upper hand on second day

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Australia, looking like early fools on April 1, turned around a disastrous start to once again have the advantage over New Zealand after the second day of the third cricket test on Saturday in Hamilton, New Zealand.

At the close, New Zealand was 58 for three in its second innings, an overall lead of 38, with captain and best batsman Stephen Fleming already out.

The day started like a dream for New Zealand, who experienced their best 30 minutes of the series when Australia tumbled from four for one overnight to 29 for five.

But it was quickly turned around by Damien Martyn's best test innings of 89 and a rapid 75 from Adam Gilchrist, the pair adding 119 in 92 minutes and taking their team within nine runs of New Zealand's first innings of 232.

Shayne O'Connor, who started the collapse on Saturday morning, ended with his best test figures of five for 51 while Chris Cairns took three for 80 to leave him second equal on New Zealand's all-time test wickets list alongside Danny Morrison on 160.

But Australia earned a 20-run lead and bowled 33 tight overs at New Zealand to firm its grip on the game.

It was a frantic opening on a pitch with some early zip, with O'Connor striking twice in the fifth over of the day with the help of Indian umpire Arani Jayaprakash.

He removed Michael Slater and nightwatchman Shane Warne leg before wicket to big inswingers to make it 17 for three before Cairns got involved.

Next over he bowled Justin Langer for four then the big wicket of Steve Waugh came - snapped up low at first slip by Fleming for three.

In 7.2 overs Australia had lost four wickets for 21 runs.

But Australia, befitting a team on a test winning streak of nine, fought back with input briefly from Mark Waugh and then from Martyn and Gilchrist.

Waugh helped Martyn add 75 in 66 minutes but Australia went to lunch still battling at 118 for six.

The first hour after the break was a great exhibition, with Martyn and Gilchrist hammering debutant Daryl Tuffey and Cairns among others for 90 off 15 overs.

Both hit 10 fours in their 50s - Gilchrist's off 53 balls and Martyn's off 80 - and Gilchrist thundered on to 75 off 80 balls until he was caught in the deep.

Martyn marched on but saw Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath fall at the other end, and when Colin Miller was out slogging at O'Connor, Martyn was stranded on his highest test score of 89 not out. It took him 210 minutes and 136 balls, including 14 fours and a six.

New Zealand's top order once again failed, with the first three back in the pavilion with the lead just 33.

It started badly again with Matthew Horne run out in the third over when Miller pounced at cover, then Spearman and Mathew Sinclair added 46 in 82 minutes before Miller forced a double breakthrough.

Sinclair was trapped leg before wicket for 24 then two overs later Fleming was smartly caught down the legside by Gilchrist with the total on 53.

Spearman will be New Zealand's big hope on Sunday on an improving batting pitch, finishing unbeaten on 29 in 130 minutes, with Nathan Astle two not out.

Scores after the second day of the third cricket test in Hamilton, New Zealand:

Australia won the toss

New Zealand 1st Innings, 232

Australia, 1st Innings

Matthew Hayden c Parore b O'Connor 2 Michael Slater lbw b O'Connor 2 Shane Warne lbw b O'Connor 10 Justin Langer b Cairns 4 Mark Waugh c Sinclair b Wiseman 28 Steve Waugh c Fleming b Cairns 3 Damien Martyn not out 89 Adam Gilchrist c Horne b Wiseman 75 Brett Lee c McMillan b Cairns 8 Glenn McGrath b O'Connor 7 Colin Miller c Tuffey b O'Connor 2

Extras (4b, 6lb, 12nb) 22

TOTAL: 252.

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-16, 3-17, 4-25, 5-29, 6-104, 7-223, 8-232, 9-248, 10-252.

Bowling: Chris Cairns 22-7-80-3 (1nb), Shayne O'Connor 15.5-5- 51-5 (2nb), Daryl Tuffey 9-0-75-0 (9nb), Nathan Astle 4-3-5-0, Paul Wiseman 11-3-31-2.

Overs: 61.5

New Zealand, 2nd Innings

Matthew Horne run out 0 Craig Spearman not out 29 Mathew Sinclair lbw Miller 24 Stephen Fleming c Gilchrist b Miller 2 Nathan Astle not out 2

Extras (1nb) 1

TOTAL: 58 for 3 wickets.

Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-49, 3-53.

Bowling: Glenn McGrath 6-3-11-0, Brett Lee 8-0-19-0, Colin Miller 11-4-20-2, Shane Warne 8-4-8-0 (1nb).

Overs: 33.