Wellington: Misbah ul-Haq was dismissed just a run short of his century as Daniel Vettori took four wickets to keep New Zealand`s hopes alive in the second test against Pakistan on the third day on Monday.
Pakistan was all out for 376 - a first innings lead of just 20 - and New Zealand was 9 without loss at the close of play.
Pakistan captain Misbah toiled for more than five hours toward his third test century but was denied when he was trapped lbw by Chris Martin on 99 off the 207th ball of his innings.
Pakistan`s lead was made possible by a 142-run, fourth-wicket partnership between Misbah and Younis Khan (73) which occupied the first two sessions of the third day and frustrated New Zealand`s hunt for a series-leveling win.
New Zealand captain Vettori took 4-100, dismissing Taufeeq Umar for 70 with the last ball of the second day, Younis Khan with the last ball before tea today, Asad Shafiq for 0 and Adnan Akmal for 22 as New Zealand reined in Pakistan, which had been cruising toward a first innings lead at 286-3.
Younis was desperately unlucky to be given out when he was judged caught close in by Jesse Ryder off Vettori, after he had worked for almost four hours with Misbah to give Pakistan the upper hand. Television replays indicated Younis did not get an inside edge before the ball flew to Ryder on the leg side.
The decision broke Pakistan`s stranglehold on the match. Vettori struck twice soon after tea and Martin added the wickets of Abdur Rehman for 5 and Umar Gul for 19 as Pakistan lost its last five wickets for 52 runs.
Martin finished with 4-91 as New Zealand tried to contrive a result with 20 wickets still at stake in the game`s last two days.
New Zealand started the day positively when Martin dismissed the overnight batsman Azhar Ali for 67 in the fifth over as Pakistan added only 10 runs to its overnight total of 134-2.
But it needed to strike further and quickly into Pakistan`s middle order to take any form of control in the match and to have any chance of leveling the series which Pakistan leads 1-0 after winning the first test by 10 wickets.
Younis and Misbah denied them that opportunity, surviving the remainder of the first session and all of the second until Younis fell to the last ball before team.
The pair batted superbly, with absolute diligence and restraint, raising their century partnership in 150 minutes and posting their half centuries in relatively quick succession. Younis reached the milestone in 158 minutes from 102 balls with his eighth boundary and Misbah followed in 156 minutes, from 105 balls with a cracking boundary off Tim Southee.
The loss of Younis at a critical point in the day sent the Pakistan innings into decay. New Zealand limited its lead to 20 runs and defrayed all but of those runs without the loss of a wicket before stumps.