New Zealand 295 & 1/10 (7 ov) trail Australia 427 (129.2 ov, Clarke 139, Haddin 80, Ponting 78, Martin 3/89 ) by 122 runs with 9 second inns in hand : T1/2 D3/5 at the 'Gabba Brisbane
While Ricky Ponting, didn't go on to get the century which all his supporters had hoped for, two others whose performances have been under scrutiny , Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin, did put Australia ahead and, in Clarke's case, to relieve the pressure on him and, in Haddin's, to turn down (if not off) the blowtorch.
New Zealand seem unable to stitch together more than a couple of winning sessions on the trot. Either their batting collapses or, like today, their attack is unable to break through often enough against good batting and they fail to take some crucial catches. While Clarke was the main beneficiary, it was embarassing (and so typical of New Zealand cricket) to see the wicketkeeper Reece Young drop him and then have to go off when another ball hit him in the mouth.
While Chris Martin, Daniel Vettori and, less often, Tim Southee plugged away the burly Doug Bracewell exemplified the lack of depth of the Kiwi bowling. Yes, he suffered from dropped catches and bowled some Praveen Kumar style balls which swung past the bat (though on TV they didn't look anywhere near the mid 130s kph which the speed gun indicated) but he bowled too many which could be, and usually were, put away.
None of the is to diminish the significance of Clarke's 139/249b (1x6, 19x4), Haddin's 80/145b (2x6, 6x4) and Ponting's 78/140b (12x4).
To add to their woes New Zealand had to bat out the extended day (no early finish for so called bad light today ) and lost Brendon McCullum cheaply. It will be hard for the Black Caps to win from this position, though if the usual script is replayed we should see some stout resistance from their batters but ultimately Australia will win.