New Zealand were dealt a cruel blow in the opening test when they lost Lockie Ferguson after just 11 overs.
Now at the MCG the fast bowlers have been left hanging by the lacklustre efforts from spinner Mitchell Santner.
Santner bowled only seven overs on the opening day's play and went for 34 runs as the Aussies comfortably dispatched him around the ground.
• Cricket: Black Caps battle on day one of Boxing Day test against Australia
• Boxing Day test at MCG: Cricket start time, weather for Black Caps v Australia
• Live cricket updates: Black Caps v Australia, Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
• Cricket: 'Livid' Steve Smith storms away from umpire in Boxing Day test against Black Caps
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The issue has become a glaring one for the tourists with prominent broadcaster Gerard Whateley labelling him the "weak link" of the side.
"He was such an obvious weak link that took the pressure off whenever he came into the attack that Williamson limited him in the number of overs and then Sydney, which at the moment looks like it's going to be a spinning deck, Australia have just added an extra spinner to the squad, it's a big deficiency too have," Whateley said.
Australian cricket great Mark Waugh went even harder on Santner, pointing him out as the reason why the tourists won't win the test.
"He's a one-day bowler, not a test match bowler. If you're an orthodox bowler the one thing you've got to have is accuracy, yet he doesn't have that.
"He doesn't spin the ball a lot so you've got to have accuracy and he doesn't have that. He bowls short balls, too many easy scoring balls. I think it's a real big issue and the reason why they can't win this test.
"You've got to have a decent spinner in Australia or at least a spinner who can get wickets. At the moment he isn't doing that and he's not keeping it tight so I don't know what they'll do in Sydney, they'll maybe have to bring in a leg-spinner because I can't see Santner playing."