Glenn McGrath believes Australia's bowlers are up there with the best attack they have ever had.

Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon all made an impact when Australia beat New Zealand at Perth Stadium to seal the on-going three-Test series with a game to spare.

Pattinson got his chance after Josh Hazlewood limped out of the first Test with a hamstring injury, giving another demonstration of Australia's strength in depth. 

McGrath spearheaded a formidable Australia attack that included Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Shane Warne and he does not rate that unit as being any better than the current crop.

Speaking on the eve of the Pink Test at the SCG, which generates funds for the McGrath Foundation, the former seamer said: "They are right up there, without a doubt, their stats prove that.

"They are forming an attack that can compete with any era of Australian cricket.

"That spell on the day three [in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG] with Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, the way they bowled in tandem, was as good a fast bowling as you'll see anywhere in the world.

"To have Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood as well, four quality bowlers, throw in Nathan Lyon as well, it's as good a bowling attack as we've had.

"A lot people say New Zealand has been disappointing but I think a lot of that has been because of the way our bowlers have bowled.

"In Australian conditions they are tough to face, they will be tough to face anywhere in the world but especially at home."

New Zealand called up uncapped batsman Glenn Phillips on the eve of the final match of the series as cover for Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls, who have been laid low by illness.

Australia claimed a series win over New Zealand after easing to victory in the Boxing Day Test, despite a fighting display from centurion Tom Blundell.

New Zealand wilted in the Melbourne heat at the MCG, where Australia wrapped up a crushing 247-run win on day four of the second Test on Sunday.

Blundell rallied for the Black Caps, celebrating his second Test hundred in three matches with a resilient 121 runs, but he had no support from his team-mates after Nathan Lyon (4-81) and James Pattinson (3-35) starred.

Marnus Labuschagne (1-11) ended Blundell's unforgettable innings late in the evening as Australia only required nine wickets to skittle New Zealand for 240 – Trent Boult not batting due to a fractured finger.

Australia declared,168-5, 10 overs into the penultimate day – the hosts setting New Zealand a mammoth 488 for victory as temperatures soared.

Already humbled by 296 runs in Perth, the Black Caps faced an uphill battle to keep the series alive in their first Boxing Day appearance in Melbourne in 1987, and Pattinson wreaked havoc on Sunday morning.

After a lively and tenacious start by Pat Cummins (0-47), Mitchell Starc (0-59) and Australia, Pattinson made an immediate impact with the wicket of opener Tom Latham for 8.

Pattinson – back in the team as a replacement for injured quick Josh Hazlewood – flourished on his home ground, claiming another two wickets before lunch to leave New Zealand reeling on 38-3.

After trapping captain Kane Williamson for a duck – his seventh against Australia – Pattinson then removed Ross Taylor (2), who chopped onto his own stumps.

Blundell dug deep following lunch with a half-century as New Zealand showed some fight, only losing one wicket in the middle session after Henry Nicholls (33) fell to Lyon.

BJ Watling (22) and Mitchell Santner (27) were the only other players to provide support for Blundell en route to a century on another forgettable day for New Zealand.

Pat Cummins felt it "all came together" as he claimed his first five-wicket Test haul in 11 months to put Australia in an almost unassailable position against New Zealand in Melbourne.

The home side ended day three of the second Test on 137-4 in their second innings, giving them a lead of 456 over the beleaguered tourists, who had earlier been dismissed for 148.

Cummins was the Black Caps' destroyer-in-chief with 5-28 in a wonderful display of fast bowling at the MCG.

It was his first five-for since January, when he took 6-23 to guide his team to victory against Sri Lanka in Brisbane.

He said: "I was happy with how it came out today. I feel like I've been bowling well, especially the last couple of games.

"Today it felt like it all came together and fortunately, yeah, a few nicks. But to be honest, I'm not really focused too much on the past, it's more what's ahead of me."

On a day of minor milestones, Cummins' removal of Henry Nicholls for a duck was also his first lbw in his last 70 scalps – although that statistic came as a surprise to the 26-year-old.

"Was it? First LB, wow. None in England? I probably should have bowled fuller," he joked.

"I feel like a lot of the wickets are caught behind the wicket. I feel like when the wicket is pretty true it's hard to attack the stumps sometimes. That's always a challenge, trying to get the ball in a position where you can get an LB or a bowled. But yeah, that's surprised me because we always talk about trying to hit the top of the bails and that kind of height, so thanks for that. I'll work on that!"

Cummins' heroics helped Australia establish a 319-run first-innings lead but he endorsed captain Tim Paine's decision not to enforce the follow-on.

"No, [I was] not that keen to bowl tonight," he added. "There's still two days left in the game so we're in no major rush.

"I hear the commentators and everyone talk about it a lot – [but] it's still a massive decision. When you're that far in front in the game, to give the other team a chance to get back into it.

"I think I bowled 17 overs, which isn't huge, but suddenly if we have to have another couple of days out there [in the field] that's basically one innings of bowling, 40 or 50 overs.

"[We will try to get] a good night's sleep, [and go] fresh at them tomorrow. Hopefully we can strike while we're a little bit fresher."

James Pattinson contributed 3-34 on his return to the Test side and Cummins was not surprised by his fellow quick's impact.

"We all know how good Jimmy is," he said.

"When you speak to guys playing Shield cricket or county cricket they speak of him as though he's one of the best bowlers in the world, and we all know that.

"To come out here in front of his home fans, rather than in Shield cricket, was great.

"We absolutely love having him in our team. He's a competitor and bowls 145 kilometres an hour, gets up for the challenge, and nips the ball around. So, he's a handful. [I am] Really happy for him."

Australia head coach Justin Langer insisted star opener David Warner will be "ready to go" for the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand in Melbourne.

Warner sent a scare through the Australia camp on Monday after he was struck on his left hand during a net session at the MCG.

The 33-year-old batsman – who posted scores of 43 and 19 in the 296-run rout of the Black Caps in Perth – returned to the nets later in the day, while he also featured on Tuesday morning.

Despite concerns, Langer declared Warner a certain starter for the second Test as Australia look to seal a series victory.

"He's fine," Langer told reporters on Tuesday. "There was a little concern for about two seconds and then he saw the doctor and he's hitting balls again.

"We know how well he's playing at the moment, we know how much all the boys love playing Test cricket and Boxing Day cricket … so he'll be ready to go."

"It's not unusual for Davey to do that," Langer said of Warner taking his left hand off the bat at times. "He's in really good nick, he's a very experienced player now, he knows how to prepare. As I said, I've got absolutely no worries that he'll be raring to go."

Langer, who also confirmed James Pattinson will replace injured quick Josh Hazlewood for his first Test on Australian soil since 2016, revealed Australia are pondering a selection shake-up.

The MCG has produced a lifeless pitch over the years, though a Sheffield Shield match earlier this month had to be abandoned due to a dangerous surface and unpredictable bounce.

If the pitch continues its theme, Langer said Australia could drop a batsman and field five frontline bowlers against New Zealand.

"The Australian cricket team doesn't usually go down that path of having an extra bowler," said Langer. "But if we're going to play on a wicket like we have in the last two years or so here at the MCG, we've certainly got to find a way to take 20 wickets.

"If we turn up on Boxing Day and it looks really flat, we've got the flexibility to be able to do it. In most circumstances ... we don't play an extra bowler because you don't need to do it.

James Pattinson is set to make his return for Australia's Boxing Day showdown against New Zealand, according to head coach Justin Langer.

Pattinson missed the Test series against Pakistan after he was suspended for the opening match in November due to a level two breach of Cricket Australia's code of conduct for abuse of an opposition player in the Sheffield Shield.

But the Victoria paceman is poised to replace injured quick Josh Hazlewood for the second Test against New Zealand at the MCG in Melbourne, despite Peter Siddle being drafted into the squad.

"I am really looking forward to seeing Patto bowl and bowl well in this Boxing Day Test, which is his home ground as well," Langer told 6PR on Saturday.

"James Pattinson was 12th man in the last game and I hope what I have shown in the last 18 months is that we have been really consistent in our selection.

"He's been unlucky, he only played a couple of Tests in the Ashes and he is so hungry like Mitchell Starc.

"The way he has come back from playing [two] Tests in the Ashes has just been brilliant."

Australia can wrap up the three-Test series following their 296-run rout of the Black Caps in Perth.

All eyes will be on the MCG pitch when Australia and trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand do battle, starting Thursday.

MCG curator Matt Page has come under fire after a Sheffield Shield match was abandoned due to an unsafe surface earlier this month.

"I know they are going to be under some pressure, there is no doubt about that," Langer said. "But I also know that Matt Page is an incredibly hard worker.

"They got it wrong in the last Shield game, but they were getting it right for the two Shield games before.

"He'll have some nervous nights Pagey, but I am confident he will get a good wicket up."

Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood will miss the Boxing Day Test after injuring his hamstring in Perth, coach Justin Langer confirmed.

Scans revealed Hazlewood suffered a low-grade tear during his opening spell on the second day of the first Test against New Zealand.

The 28-year-old lasted just eight deliveries, taking the wicket of Jeet Raval, before being forced from the field.

Langer ruled him out of the MCG clash and suggested Peter Siddle could rival James Pattinson and uncapped seamer Michael Neser for Hazlewood's spot.

"Without doubt, Patto and Michael Neser, they'll be in the squad 100 per cent and we'll look whether we replace Josh with another fast bowler," Langer told reporters.

"The obvious one would be Peter Siddle, actually. He did a really good job in the Ashes, he's bowling very well for Victoria and it's at the MCG, where he's played a lot of cricket.

"We'll see what happens the rest of this game and then make a decision."

Australia will expect to take a 1-0 series advantage to Melbourne after building a 417-run lead by stumps on day three at Optus Stadium.

The hosts are set to resume at 167-6 in their second innings after skittling the Black Caps for 166 on Saturday.

Australia legend Shane Warne is "disappointed" to see James Pattinson miss the first Test against Pakistan through suspension but feels the team are in decent nick ahead of the series.

Paceman Pattinson was found guilty of a level two breach of Cricket Australia's code of conduct for abuse of an opposition player in the Sheffield Shield.

The incident, which occurred in Victoria's clash with Queensland in Melbourne, marked a third breach in 18 months, which triggered two suspension points and a one-match ban meaning he will miss the Brisbane Test that starts this week.

Warne, Australia's leading wicket taker in Test cricket, would have had Pattinson in his line-up.

"It's disappointing, I'd pencilled him in for the first Test," Warne told reporters. 

"I thought he was okay in the Ashes, not at his best, but he did a good job. I still think he's in our best three fast bowlers, though, when he's at his best.

"So, really disappointed to lose him before the Gabba, I think that would have suited him. [Josh] Hazlewood and [Pat] Cummins pick themselves, they're as good as anybody in the world those two, and then Pattinson I thought with Nathan Lyon is such a fantastic combination, there's so much variety and just relentless pressure with those three. 

"It's a huge loss. It probably means Mitchell Starc will play, he's in good form as well. It's great to have those competition for spots - because it's not easy you don't just pencil in 'this is who we've got', we've got choices.

"It's probably the first time in a while we've had choices with fast bowlers, first time we've got choices with batsmen - so I think Australian cricket is in pretty good shape, I thought they did well in England."

Australia are about to embark on a home summer having spent much of the year in England for the Cricket World Cup and the Ashes.

A run to the World Cup semi-finals was followed by the tourists retaining the urn in a drawn 2-2 series and Warne feels the side have decent form.

"I was disappointed to lose the last [group] game against South Africa in the World Cup, I reckon if we'd have beaten South Africa and ended up on top and played New Zealand it could have been a different World Cup," he added. 

"It would have been nice to win 3-1 in the Ashes, I thought we deserved to win that rather than 2-2, but a fantastic English summer for the Aussies, World Cup semi-final and retaining the urn was pretty good so they're in good form leading into first Test match."

On the make-up of the squad, Warne was surprised to see Cameron Bancroft selected after he made just 44 runs across two matches in the Ashes but was happy on the whole.

"I would have liked to see Marcus Harris included, I thought he deserved another chance, he's been in pretty good form," Warne said.

"Joe Burns, I like that selection. A little surprised with Cameron Bancroft being in the squad. Whether he gets the nod we'll have to wait and see, a little surprised after his form against England."

James Pattinson will miss Australia's first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba due to a suspension handed down by Cricket Australia (CA), it was announced on Sunday.

Australia and Victoria bowler Pattinson is ineligible for the series opener in Brisbane after being found guilty of a level two breach of CA's code of conduct for abuse of an opposition player in the Sheffield Shield.

The incident stems from Victoria's clash with Queensland in Melbourne and as it is Pattinson's third breach in the past 18 months, it triggered two suspension points and a subsequent one-match ban.

"I made a mistake in the heat of the moment," said Pattinson, who opted against contesting the charge. "Straight away I realised I was in the wrong, and I apologised immediately, both to the opponent and to the umpires.

"I have done the wrong thing and accept the penalty. I'm gutted to miss a Test match, but the standards are there for a reason and the fault is mine."

No replacement will be called into the Test squad for the Pakistan opener, which gets underway on Thursday.

"We have a duty to uphold the highest standards of behaviour and the action taken in this matter demonstrates that," CA's head of integrity and security Sean Carroll said. "On this occasion, James acknowledges he fell short of that expectation."

Australia captain Tim Paine told ABC Grandstand: "He knows that he's let himself down and let the group down. We hold ourselves to really high standards now with our behaviour ... so we're disappointed in that.

"James has owned up and he knows he's made a mistake. He's apologised for it and will come back bigger and better."

Australia fast bowler James Pattinson plans to make back-to-back Test matches the next milestone in his return to international cricket.

The injury-ravaged Victorian ended a three-year absence from the top level with two appearances in the recent Ashes series in England.

Pattinson was forced to undergo spinal surgery to correct a career-threatening back problem in 2017 and selectors have been careful with his reintegration.

He took two wickets in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston and then claimed another three in the third Test in Leeds, with a rest in between.

"The next process for me now, if I do get the chance in the Test arena, is to play more back-to-back cricket," Pattinson told reporters.

"I've been injury-free for the best part of a year now. The body is feeling good. Hopefully that's the next progression, if I do get a chance in the Test team."

He continued: "I think the more cricket you play, the more comfortable you feel in terms of your body and how the ball is coming out.

"You see the batters around and they're playing all the time and they get into a rhythm. As a bowler, it's hard sometimes when you're stopping and going and stopping and going.

"Hopefully the next step of the process is playing some consistent cricket."

Australia are set to play five Tests against Pakistan and New Zealand over the next two months, giving Pattinson the chance to push for consecutive matches.

But the 29-year-old faces strong competition simply to win selection, with Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser also challenging Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc for places.

"We've got a lot of fast bowlers up at the moment, which is great for Australian cricket," Pattinson said.

"All anyone can do is go out there and do their best for the team they're playing in."

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