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New Zealand crumble under Australian pace barrage

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Melbourne (AFP)

Australia's world-class pace attack wreaked havoc on New Zealand Saturday, with the Blacks Caps reeling at lunch on day three of the second Test after losing four morning wickets.

The visitors resumed in trouble on 44 for two in reply to Australia's 467, having lost batting kingpin Kane Williamson and makeshift opener Tom Blundell in a fiery bowling spell late Friday.

Tom Latham weathered that storm and began the rescue mission on nine with Ross Taylor on two.

They must get a result at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to keep the three-Test series alive after being crushed by 296 runs in the opening day-night clash in Perth.

But they had a disastrous session and were 102 for six at lunch with Latham unbeaten on a gutsy 42 and Mitchell Santner not out on one.

The experienced Taylor was removed in just the third over and Henry Nicholls followed for a golden duck as they crumbled.

Pat Cummins was the chief destroyer, with Taylor getting an edge to a searing delivery on four. Manus Labuschagne juggled the slip catch and Joe Burns grabbed the ball.

A stunned Nicholls was then out lbw after unsuccessfully reviewing the decision, before BJ Watling nervously managed to defend Cummins' hat-trick ball.

At the other end James Pattinson, playing for the injured Josh Hazlewood, was equally menacing and Latham should have gone the next over, but a diving Steve Smith put down a slip catch he would normally hold.

Pattinson soon got his reward with a rising ball catching Watling's glove and Burns taking an easy catch to leave them at 58 for five.

New Zealand staged a mini recovery before Mitchell Starc also got in on the action, having Colin de Grandhomme caught in the gully by David Warner for 11.

A Travis Head century and 79 from skipper Tim Paine took the game away from New Zealand in the session between lunch and tea on Friday with former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum slamming his team's tactics, claiming they "rolled over".

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