Nathan Lyon took his first five-wicket haul at the Sydney Cricket Ground as Australia bowled out New Zealand for 251 before extending their lead to 243 runs on day three of the third Test.
At stumps Sunday, Australia was 40 without loss after dismissing New Zealand in the final hour of the day.
David Warner (23 not out) and Joe Burns (16 not out) comfortably played out the remaining 16 overs, leaving Australia well-placed to push for a 3-0 series sweep.
Lyon was the standout bowler, making the most of the slow and variable bounce in the pitch to return 5-68, his best figures in nine tests at his home ground and 17th five-wicket haul of his 96-test career. It was also the best figures by an Australian spinner at the SCG since Nathan Hauritz's 5-53 against Pakistan in 2010.
“I don't mind if it's slow if there is something else," Lyon said. ”There's a bit of bounce, obviously spin as well, and there's starting to be some variable bounce (too).
"It's quite special to go up on the honours board and take five wickets at your home, in front of your family and friends."
Glenn Phillips made a skillful, but at-times fortunate, 52 on debut to lead New Zealand's innings. Latham made 49 as several of the New Zealand batsmen made starts and then found ways to get out and stall any momentum.
After New Zealand’s openers navigated a full session without losing a wicket on the evening of day two, their position in the match deteriorated quickly on Sunday as wickets fell regularly.
Tom Blundell failed to add to his overnight 34 before getting himself in a tangle from a Lyon delivery which went through his legs, hit his pad and bounced on to the stumps.
Jeet Raval, in the team for the ill Kane Williamson, and Latham combined for a 49-run partnership and looked comfortable against Australia’s attack until Lyon was brought back to bowl. The off-spinner quickly removed Raval lbw for 31.
Two balls later, Latham’s solid innings ended in a soft fashion when the stand-in skipper chipped straight to Mitchell Starc at mid-on off Pat Cummins to reduce the tourists to 117-3.
After lunch, New Zealand needed to build a big partnership to cut inroads into Australia’s lead but had the worst possible start when Cummins’ had Ross Taylor (22) out LBW with his first ball.
B.J. Watling never found any rhythm on the slow, dry pitch before he dragged a wide Mitchell Starc delivery onto his stumps to be out for nine and reduce the tourists to 163-5.
Phillips and Colin de Grandhomme then set about building some momentum and added 32 together before de Grandhomme (20) opted to take an ill-advised second run-off Marnus Labuschagne’s first ball of the day and was caught short of his ground by Matthew Wade throwing from the deep. The television reply showed wicketkeeper Tim Paine managed to receive Wade’s throw and dislodge the bails with de Grandhomme fractionally short of safe territory to reduce New Zealand to 195-6.
Phillips’ 113-ball innings, which included being twice dropped by Lyon and dismissed off a Pattinson no-ball, but his luck ran out two balls later when Cummins (3-44) bowled him between bat and pad.
Lyon then bowled both Greg Somerville and Neil Wagner for ducks in the same over to reduce the visitors to 237-9.
Despite having a broken thumb sustained on the first morning, Matt Henry went out to bat for New Zealand but was soon Lyon’s fifth victim, stumped by Paine.
Lyon will also likely benefit during New Zealand's second innings as the pitch further deteriorates.
"I don't know if it's going to spin, if it hits the rough, or go straight," Lyon said. “So my job is to bowl consistent lines and length and make sure I'm challenging these guys' defence.”
“If I don't know (what will happen), I can guarantee the batters don't.”
On Saturday, Labuschagne’s stellar summer reached a new peak with his maiden double century to lead Australia to 454 in its first innings.
Australia won the first two tests at Perth and Melbourne.