SYDNEY (Reuters) - David Warner led the way as Australia marched towards a series sweep over New Zealand by taking a 375-run lead over the tourists at lunch on the fourth day of the third and final test on Monday.
Opener Warner was accelerating towards his first century of the series on 89 not out to help drive the hosts to 172 for one at the end of the opening session.
His opening partner Joe Burns was the one batsman to fall on an overcast morning at the Sydney Cricket Ground, adjudged lbw for 40 off a Todd Astle delivery after a DRS review.
Marnus Labuschagne, who scored his maiden double century in the first innings, will resume on 36 having been granted a reprieve when Astle spilled a simple chance to dismiss him caught and bowled for four runs.
Warner, who was born a few hundred metres from the SCG, hit 154 and 335 not out in the first two tests of Australia’s home season against Pakistan but had failed to get past the half-century mark in five innings in the New Zealand series.
The left-hander looked unlikely to repeat those failures on Monday after resuming on 23 with Australia 40 without loss and he was soon flipping his bat to a sparse crowd in an understated recognition of reaching the 50 from 82 deliveries.
Australia, who made 454 in the first innings before dismissing New Zealand for 251, will be looking to extend the lead well past the 400 mark before declaring to put the tourists back in.
New Zealand, ravaged by illness and injury, have already lost the series after thumping defeats in Perth and Melbourne.