The damage looks bad but it is not as bad as it could have been for the Black Caps in the third test against Australia in Sydney. The home side were bowled out for 454 at tea on day two, which was anchored by an outstanding 215 by Marnus Lauschagne.
The South African-born batsman continued his incredible summer for Australia with his highest test score, which kept his average well over 50 in only his 14th test match.
Labuschagne batted for 363 balls for his knock, which included 19 fours and a six. He was finally removed off a slower ball by Todd Astle, who drew a leading-edge and did well to haul in the deflection to have Labuschagne caught and bowled.
Earlier, Will Sommerville got the day off to a perfect start for New Zealand by bowling Matthew Wade in the first over of the day. Tim Paine stuck around long enough to give Labuschange the partnership he needed to press on with the run rate. He scored 35 before he was bowled as well by Colin de Grandhomme.
James Pattinson was removed by Neil Wagner but his dismissal was far more comical, with the ball hitting him on the shoulder and bouncing off his gloves, on to the back of the bat and dislodging the bails.
Mitchell Starc offered a bit of rear-guard resistance with a quick-fire 22, before he too was bowled by Wagner.
So, in all, the Black Caps can at least be happy that what was looking like a deficit of 550 plus is a bit more manageable. However, this is exactly the same position they have been in late on day two of both tests they have played in this series. Both of which, of course, have ended in heavy defeats.
Stand-in skipper Tom Latham is due to open the first innings batting for New Zealand. If there was ever a time for a captain’s knock, it is now.
Australia v NZ, third test
Day Two, tea:
Australia first innings: 454 all out (M Labuschange 215, s Smith 63, N Wagner 3-66)