By Niall Anderson in Melbourne

Black Caps bowler Neil Wagner has rued his side's bad luck as Australia took the ascendancy on day two of the second test at the MCG.

Australia batted their way into control of the test after compiling 467 in their first innings and reducing New Zealand to 44-2 at stumps, but Wagner felt that his bowling unit were hard done by, noting the amount of edges that fell short of fielders.

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"Sometimes you need a bit of luck and I think we didn't really have that, there were a lot of edges that didn't carry or went square of the wicket and on other days when that goes to hand you put pressure on them and it's a different ballgame – we might bowl them out for under 300," Wagner theorised.

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"Colin de Grandhomme beat the bat so many times, it's a bit of luck which you need sometimes. I thought we created pressure and created those periods for something to happen and it just kept going past the bat. Sometimes it can be a little frustrating, and you leak a couple of runs. I thought our plans were still pretty good.

"I guess it's the nature of the beast, sometimes you get a nick or a one-handed grab goes your way and you can grab two or three [quick wickets] and put some pressure on the middle order, but their top order put us under the pump."

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That was most prevalent on day one, when Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Wade were particularly fortunate to get through to 63 and 38 respectively, but Wagner, who finished with figures of 4-83, thought that they could have removed Steve Smith earlier in his eventual score of 85 as well.

"I felt even in the first couple of balls of his innings, there was a lot that just ballooned in the air and fell nowhere, if that goes to hand, all of a sudden it's a different ballgame."

Neil Wagner celebrates the wicket of Steve Smith. Photo / Getty
Neil Wagner celebrates the wicket of Steve Smith. Photo / Getty

When Wagner did finally remove Smith with a stunning short ball, Australia were slightly vulnerable at 284-5, with Tim Paine walking to the crease and only the bowlers left to come. However, Paine survived some early scares and went on to join forces with Travis Head, with the pair adding a vital 150-run stand.

"The first couple of balls to him [we tried to] pitch it up and nick him off, a couple of plays and misses and if you get an edge there, you open up an end and it's a different sort of game," Wagner said.

"The opportunities that came didn't really go our way. Finally we created something and thought we might have a bit of a gap, and two guys came out and played really well."

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Neil Wagner successfully appeals for the wicket of Tim Paine. Photo / Photosport
Neil Wagner successfully appeals for the wicket of Tim Paine. Photo / Photosport

In the end, despite the tough luck, Wagner still recognised that the Australian batsmen won the battle, and deserved their dominant position.

"Full credit to the Australian batsmen, they've almost been a step ahead of us. They've played really well, showed a lot of patience and some clear plans, and they kept doing that throughout the whole innings."