PERTH – Marnus Labuschagne and Joe Burns notched half-centuries before New Zealand's unflagging attack yielded late wickets, but Australia had built a near insurmountable lead of 417 by stumps on day three of the first test on Saturday.
Australia reached the close at 167 for six with Matthew Wade on eight and Pat Cummins on one. New Zealand quicks Neil Wagner and Tim Southee shared the spoils with six wickets between them.
Australia suffered a late collapse but remain in a strong position. The highest successful run chase in test history is 418, achieved by the West Indies against Australia in 2003.
Burns (53) and Labuschagne, who has now passed 1,000 test runs in 2019, did the bulk of the heavy lifting in an 87-run partnership.
South Africa-born Labuschagne’s bid for a fourth straight test century ended when he mistimed a pull short on 50 off Wagner, who persevered with aggressive short-pitched bowling.