Australia continued their dominance on the Perth Test, even as New Zealand put up an improved show on day two. Australia had already crossed 400 on the opening day itself, and there was genuine interest over whether David Warner could progress to 300, having resumed the day at 244 not out. It wasn't to be though as he had added only 9 runs to his overnight score, and was dismissed for 253. Australia declared having made 559 for 9. New Zealand again lost Martin Guptill early, but Kane Williamson continued his impressive batting run. He finished unbeaten on 70, and the Kiwis were 140 for 2, still trailing by 419.
New Zealand were far more competitive on day two, but the damage has perhaps already been done. Williamson batted with excellent control, rarely looking in any sort of trouble against a decent bowling attack. He reached with fifty with a wonderful cover drive off Mitchell Johnson. Williamson hit as many as 10 fours during his stay at the crease. Towards the end of the day, he found good support in Ross Taylor, who looked a lot more confident during his stay at the crease. He played his favourite punch through cover-point with ease and, as he grew in confidence, slog swept against spin as well.
Australia however had struck important blows earlier. For the third innings in a row, Martin Guptill was not in sync out in the middle. He was trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc as the Kiwi opener missed a fast inswinger. Tom Latham and Williamson did well then to not lose a wicket for a decent amount of time. Latham was looking good on 36 when Nathan Lyon found turn, and had him caught at slip. Following the loss of Latham, New Zealand would have been fearing a collapse. But, Williamson and Taylor did well to ensure that did not transpire.
Earlier, Australia declared shortly after drinks in the second session. It wasn't a fruitful second day as they added only 143 while losing seven wickets. But, Australia had done enough. Warner fell for 253, edging Trent Boult to third slip. The pace for Australia expectedly fell after that. Steven Smith fell for 27 as he tried to hit out against Matt Henry. Adam Voges batted without much hurry for his 41. In fact, until Mitchell Marsh started getting aggressive, it did not seem that the Aussies were going for a declaration. He blasted five fours and a six even as Mark Craig picked up three wickets in an over.
With three days to go, Australia are firmly in control of the Perth Test. The biggest worry of all for them would be the injury to Usman Khawaja, who may have picked up a hamstring injury while chasing a ball towards the boundary.
-- By A Cricket Correspondent