Australia must take seven wickets on the fifth day of the first Test to win tomorrow, after rain halted the match at the Gabba this afternoon.
A stingy New Zealand batting line-up started well on the fourth day, after Australia declared overnight.
Chasing 504 runs to win, the Black Caps never set their sights on victory but instead batted for the draw – and were doing relatively well before the rain.
Tom Latham was the first wicket to fall, but managed to face 71 balls before he was taken leg before wicket by Mitchell Starc. He finished with 29 runs to his name, with New Zealand on just 44 in total.
In came Kane Williamson, and he and Martin Guptill formed a partnership that took the Aussies a long time to crack.
While Williamson was again productive, scoring a run-a-ball at times during his knock, Guptill put in a defensive performance. When Guptill finally fell – bowled by Nathan Lyon, caught by Steve Smith in the 42nd over of the innings – he had faced 133 balls for just 23 runs.
Lyon took his second wicket just 10 overs later, sending Williamson off leg before wicket, leaving New Zealand with captain Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor at the crease.
Rain then started during the tea break and there was little hope that play would continue as the Gabba took a lashing. Eventually stumps was called and the Black Caps finished the day at 3-142 off 53 overs, needing another 362 runs to win.
But that of course is not what they’re looking to achieve – instead they’ll be hoping to hold out for a draw. It’s a difficult task with their first three batsmen all sent packing, but still achievable, especially if the weather intervenes again.
Australia need to take seven wickets on the final day if they are to take a 1-0 series lead, and will be buoyed by Lyon’s impact in the latter stages of today’s play.
With a minimum of 98 overs to be bowled on the fifth day and play to start at 10:30am (AEDT), the stage is set for a dramatic finish to this first Test.