AUSTRALIA is in a commanding position at the end of the third day of the second Test with a lead of 300 over New Zealand and six wickets in hand.
Simon Katich's patient 10th Test century righted the ship after some early wobbles and contributions from Michael Hussey (67) and Shane Watson (65) also helped.
Marcus North 42 not out and Michael Clarke 42 not out took the score to 333-4 at stumps.
Katich's 106 comes as some relief as the opener has made a habit of stumbling before the milestone this summer with scores of 92, 90, 99, 98, 79 and an 88 in the first innings here.
He made a solitary even 100 against Pakistan at Hobart.
Katich has had a golden run since returning to Test cricket in May 2008, scoring 2534 runs in 27 Tests at an average 56 _ the second best by an opener in the history of Australian cricket.
He has past 1000 runs in the last two calendar years and was voted the Australian Test Batsman of 2009-10 last month.
Both Hussey and Katich are celebrating their 50th Test and shared a 150 run partnership to mark the occasion.
Hussey was eventually dismissed, caught Brendon McCullum bowled Brent Arnel (2-43) for 67. Katich went soon after.
The pair began playing against each other in Western Australia as nine year olds and have been friends since.
Shane Watson started the day brightly, scoring another half century, but had a rush of blood, pulling Tim Southee to BJ Watling at the mid on boundary when he was 65.
Dan Vettori then set a clever 6-3 field to tie down Ricky Ponting at the start of his innings
The captain hit a top edge six off Southee (2-75) before being snapped up at short leg by Watling and was out for six.