Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali overcame an early misfire to lift Pakistan to 134 for two in reply to New Zealand’s first innings 356 built on a Daniel Vettori century in the second Test here Sunday.
At stumps on day two, Pakistan trailed New Zealand by 222 with eight wickets in hand and the placid pitch starting to show signs of turn.
Taufeeq was out on the last ball of the day for 70 and Azhar was undefeated on 62.
The pair came together in the second over of the Pakistan innings after Mohammad Hafeez was given out on a dubious umpire’s call, and both put on half centuries before Vettori captured Taufeeq.
It was just reward for the New Zealand captain who earlier had the opener nick a ball which wicketkeeper Reece Young juggled before he finally secured the catch.
However, the New Zealand players offered a low-key appeal and the umpire turned it down.
It was one of several decisions in the Test where television replays have shown the umpire was wrong. However, there is no provision in the match rules for the captains to appeal to the third official.
Taufeeq added another 36 runs and had three figures in his sights when he became overly defensive, stabbed at a full-length Vettori ball and it went straight to Martin Guptill fielding close in.
Azhar also had a life when on 32 he edged Tim Southee and the ball raced to the boundary between Young and first slip Ross Taylor who were standing abnormally far apart.
Their 132-run stand for the second innings underscored the placid nature of the wicket as Pakistan look to secure the two-Test series after easily wrapping up the first Test inside three days.
New Zealand, seeking a more committed batting effort in this Test, were again in trouble when they collapsed to be 180 for six before Vettori brought a level of respectability to the score with his sixth Test century.
He put on 138 with Young (57) for the seventh wicket, was the last man out for 110, compiled in nearly four hours at the crease and including 10 fours and a six.
There were nerve-wracking moments towards the end for Vettori, who was on 96 when New Zealand’s last batsman Chris Martin joined him in the middle.
Martin is recognised as one of the worst batsmen in Test cricket and he received a huge ovation from the crowd for each ball he survived as Vettori worked his way to three figures, bringing up his century with a single to fine leg.
New Zealand had resumed the second day at 246 for six and reached 318 before Young was dismissed just before lunch while Southee (one) and Brent Arnel (one) fell soon after the break.
Paceman Umar Gul finished with the best figures for Pakistan, four for 87 from 32 overs, while Tanvir took three for 93 from 25.
Left arm spinner Abdur Rehman, who had the difficult task of bowling a marathon spell into the strong northerly wind, ended with two for 96 from 45.1 overs.
Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal took six catches in the innings, one short of the world record.