Rain interrupts strong Aussie start

Australia 72/0

David Warner 47
Phillip Hughes 20

Overs - 19 (Tea)

FI: Black Caps 150 all out
SI: Black Caps 226 all out
FI: Australia 136 all out

Australia moved into a commanding position chasing 241 to win the second cricket test against New Zealand, with under-fire openers David Warner and Phillip Hughes sharing an unbroken 72-run stand Sunday before rain forced an early close to the third day.

New Zealand was dismissed for 226 moments before lunch an overall lead of 240 leaving Australia eight sessions to score the runs required to clinch a 2-0 series win.

Warner struck eight boundaries and faced 50 balls for his unbeaten 47, while Hughes overcame some early nerves to remain not out 20 at the tea interval. The entire evening session was washed out due to rain.

Australia, which has never lost a test at Bellerive, needs another 169 runs to win.

Australia: Michael Clarke (c), Phil Hughes, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.

New Zealand: Ross Taylor (c), Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Jesse Ryder, Dean Brownlie, Reece Young, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Chris Martin.

Tables turn on Australia

>> Live updates

8AM SUNDAY: WELCOME to the three-day cricket test. Unless the Bellerive Oval pitch undergoes a makeover of Shane Warne proportions, the second international between New Zealand and Australia certainly won't require day five and probably much of the fourth day as well.

New Zealand will start the third day at 139 for three, holding an overall lead of 153 but on this pitch the usual target objectives won't apply. They will figure if they can leave Australia needing even 250 they'll be in with a real chance of a series-squaring victory.

New Zealand worked hard in their second innings, having squeezed out a 14-run first innings advantage courtesy of a terrific effort by their seamers. They were helped by sloppy Australian new ball bowling in which they often had their lines wrong.

But once openers Brendon McCullum, to a good ball, and Martin Guptill, with a shot he didn't need to play, had gone, Australia got lucky. Jesse Ryder played a thoughtless leg side waft at part-timer Mike Hussey to be niftily stumped by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

However, captain Ross Taylor, dropped on 14 at gully by Phil Hughes off Hussey, and Kane Williamson batted sensibly and well to be on 42 and 34 respectively, although Williamson survived a late lbw scare.

By 2.20pm yesterday, 20 wickets had fallen in 96.5 overs for 286 runs - effectively one day's play in normal circumstances.

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