Christchurch: Brendon McCullum was unable to provide one last act of heroics in his final Test innings for New Zealand as Australia put themselves in pole position after Day Three of the second Test here.
Brendon McCullum acknowledges the crowd after completing his final innings yesterday. Pic/AFP
After his day-one fireworks, where he blasted the fastest ever Test century off just 54 balls, the stage was set for McCullum to deliver some more vital runs as the Black Caps tried to wipe out a 135-run first-innings deficit.
However, he was one of four New Zealand batsmen to fall as Australia reduced them to 121 for four after being bowled out for 505 earlier in the day.
McCullum made 25 before slapping Josh Hazlewood to mid-wicket, needlessly trying to repeat a six he had hit the previous ball. That maximum was his 107th in the five-day format — more than anyone else — and his batting career ended with 6,453 runs at an average of 38.64.
Any hopes McCullum has of bowing out with a win will rest initially with Kane Williamson, who is 45 not out and vital to New Zealand posting a defendable target on Day Four.
James Pattinson was chief destroyer for the Australians as he took 3-29, sending Martin Guptill (0), Tom Latham (39) and Henry Nicholls (2) back to the pavilion with some highly-skilled swing bowling.
The Black Caps will have been happy to restrict their deficit to 135 and they had Neil Wagner to thank for it as he claimed a second career five-wicket haul.
After Adam Voges and Nathan Lyon had taken the tourists to 464 for five, Lyon knicked off to off-spinner Kane Williamson before Wagner sparked a collapse which saw off centurions Joe Burns and Steve Smith on Day Two.
New Zealand 370 & 121-4 (K Williamson 45*, T Latham 39; J Pattinson 3-29) trail
Australia 505 (J Burns 170, S Smith 138, A Voges 60; N Wagner 6-106) by 14 runs