Wellington - A late 45 by Mitchell Santner helped New Zealand to post 281-9 in the second one-day international against Australia in Wellington on Saturday.
Santner put on a 61-run partnership with Adam Milne (36) to ensure a respectable total after the home side struggled for runs for most of the innings.
Australia need to win in Wellington to send the series into a third-match decider after New Zealand won the opening tie by 159-runs in Auckland on Wednesday.
Until Santner's heroics in the final 10 overs, Australia were holding the upper hand.
New Zealand again had a Brendon McCullum flurry at the start of the innings but with his early departure the assault on the boundary dried up.
McCullum referred to the Westpac Stadium's "run fest" reputation when he won the toss and it lived up to the name during his 12-ball stay as he clouted 28 including two fours and three sixes.
His first boundary was smacked straight through the hands of a leaping Glenn Maxwell at point.
But the brakes were applied to the scoring when Australia's Scott Boland came on in the fifth over.
Boland, only promoted to the starting line up before the toss when Kane Richardson pulled out with a back complaint, saw his first ball to McCullum hit over the long-off boundary and he bowled him with the second.
New Zealand were then racing along at 7.30 an over, but without McCullum, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson were reduced to a diet of singles and New Zealand were 57-1 after 10 overs.
Guptill cracked an unbeaten 237 against the West Indies on the same wicket a year ago and averaged 73.42 from eight ODIs this New Zealand summer but his free-flowing spirit abandoned him in this innings.
After taking 45 deliveries to reach 31 the frustration showed when he attempted to drive Mitchell Marsh over the bowler's head but sliced the ball to Usman Khawaja running in from the cover boundary.
Marsh removed Henry Nicholls five balls later before Adam Zampa, making his debut following the hamstring injury to James Faulkner, also bagged two in quick succession including the critical wicket of Kane Williamson.
Williamson was on 60 when he drove the legspinner straight to Steve Smith at cover.
In his next over Grant Elliott (32) played a similar shot and was caught by Maxwell to have New Zealand 164-5 in the 32nd over.
New Zealand were 205-7 going into the final 10 overs when Santner and Milne exploded into action.
For Australia, Josh Hazlewood was the most successful bowler with three for 61.