New Zealand's hopes of claiming a first Test win on Australian soil since 1985 soared on Saturday as the tourists grabbed a 153-run lead at the end of a dramatic second day's play in the second Test.
After skittling Australia for 136, New Zealand made 139 for three in their second innings with skipper Ross Taylor set to resume on Sunday on 42 alongside Kane Williamson (34).
With the lively greentop pitch ruthlessly punishing batting errors and rewarding good bowling, 23 wickets had fallen in just over five sessions of the test and the first-innings 56 from New Zealand's Dean Brownlie was the only batting tally of note.
Early in the day it looked like Australia might even struggle to beat the 47 they made against South Africa last month as the New Zealand bowlers ripped through their top and middle orders.
Chris Martin celebrated his 37th birthday with 3-46, Doug Bracewell grabbed 3-20 and debutant Trent Boult 3-29 as the New Zealand quicks made the most of the movement offered by the wicket and gave the Black Caps a real chance of winning their first Test in Australia in 26 years.
A stand of 56 for the eighth wicket from Peter Siddle (36) and James Pattinson (17), however, rescued the Australians from 75 for seven and ensured they would at least better their lowest score of 103 against New Zealand.
The hosts, who won the first Test in Brisbane by nine wickets, had resumed on 12-1 looking to build a big score but ended up scratching for runs as wickets fell with metronomic regularity.
Opener David Warner was the first to go for 15, driving at a full Martin delivery but only managing to edge the ball to Taylor in the slips.
Local favourite Ricky Ponting had accumulated five runs before Tim Southee trapped him lbw, a decision so clear the former Australia captain was walking back to the pavilion before the umpire's finger was raised.
Martin claimed his second wicket of the morning when Usman Khawaja, who had made seven off 51 balls, got a nick to an outswinger and wicketkeeper Reece Young took the catch.
Boult snared his first test wicket to account for Mike Hussey, caught by Young for eight, before wicketkeeper Brad Haddin smacked the ball to Brendon McCullum at mid-off from the bowling of Doug Bracewell for five.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke, who hit a century in the first Test, had grafted hard for 22 when he became Bracewell's second victim, leaving an inswinger only to see the ball knock his off-stump out of the ground.
Sensible batting from Siddle and Pattinson allowed Australia to inch towards New Zealand's first innings total of 150 before they were removed in successive overs.
Siddle got an edge to a Bracewell delivery and was caught in the slips by Martin Guptill before Kane Williamson took a beautiful low catch at gully to remove Pattinson off left-armer Boult.
Boult ended the Australia innings 14 runs behind the tourists, trapping Mitchell Starc lbw for four with umpire Asad Rauf forced to reverse his decision after a review of the television pictures.
New Zealand openers McCullum and Guptill negotiated 10 tricky overs before tea but both were gone within three overs of the resumption.
Pattinson, who took 5-51 in the first innings, added to his burgeoning reputation by tempting McCullum to edge the ball to Phil Hughes in the slips for 12.
In the next over, Siddle had Guptill caught behind by Brad Haddin and the Australian wicketkeeper was also responsible for the third wicket down.
Hussey had already had Taylor dropped at slip by the embattled Hughes when he beat Jesse Ryder down the leg side and Haddin reacted brilliantly to stump the batsman for 16.
New Zealand (1st innings 150 D. Brownlie 56; J Pattinson 5-51)
Australia (1st innings overnight 12-1)
D. Warner c Taylor b Martin 15
P. Hughes c Guptill b Martin 4
U. Khawaja c Young b Martin 7
R. Ponting lbw b Southee 5
M. Clarke b Bracewell 22
M. Hussey c Young b Boult 8
B. Haddin c McCullum b Bracewell 5
P. Siddle c Guptill b Bracewell 36
J. Pattinson c Williamson b Boult 17
M. Starc lbw b Boult 4
N. Lyon not out 1
Extras: (lb-8, nb-3, b-1) 12;
Total: (all out, 51 overs) 136;
Fall of wicket: 1-7, 2-24, 3-31, 4-35, 5-58, 6-69, 7-75, 8-131, 9-131;
Bowling: Martin 16-1-46-3 (nb-1), Boult 13-4-29-3, Southee 12-2-32-1, Bracewell 10-3-20-3 (nb-2)
New Zealand (2nd innings)
M. Guptill c Haddin b Siddle 16
B. McCullum c Hughes b Pattinson 12
J. Ryder st Haddin b Hussey 16
R. Taylor not out 42
K. Williamson not out 34
Extras: (lb-9, w-5, nb-1, b-4) 19;
Total: (for three wickets, 44 overs) 139;
Fall of wickets: 1-36, 2-36, 3-73;
Bowling: Pattinson 12-2-37-1 (w-1), Siddle 12-4-29-1 (nb-1), Starc 11-3-30-0 (w-2), Hussey 5-0-15-1, Lyon 3-0-11-0, Ponting 1-0-4-0.