Wellington: Pakistan took the upper hand on opening day of the second Test, with wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal taking five catches to help the tourists limit New Zealand to 246-6 at stumps.
Akmal took two catches from the bowling of Tanvir Ahmed and one each from Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz and spinner Abdur Rehman to help Pakistan position itself for a series victory.
Tanvir finished with 2-63 and Gul 2-53 as the Pakistan seamers were rewarded for a day of steady toil in windy conditions.
New Zealand`s batsmen extended the pattern of the 10-wicket loss in the first Test, with a lack of perseverance or an inability to build on starts. Two wickets fell in each session and Ross Taylor`s uncharacteristically painstaking 78 provided the backbone of the innings.
After winning the toss and batting, New Zealand lost Brendon McCullum in Gul`s opening over and was unable for the rest of the day to establish any authority over the Pakistan bowlers.
It was 90-2 by lunch, 147-4 by tea and New Zealand was still trying to get back on even terms on a grassy but sound batting wicket when stumps were drawn.
Captain Daniel Vettori was 38 not out and wicketkeeper Reece Young 28 not out at the close of play, having added 66 for the seventh wicket in one of the day`s few productive partnerships.
Taylor put on 52 for the third wicket with Martin Guptill (29) and 68 for the fifth wicket with James Franklin (33).
But when Tanvir dismissed Guptill and Jesse Ryder with successive deliveries in the 33rd over he effectively broke the back of the New Zealand top order.
Taylor sought to provide resistance but never succeeded in dominating the bowlers. He batted more than four hours for his 78 runs, taking 98 balls to reach his half century.
After being bought for USD 1 million dollars in the recent Indian Premier League auction, Taylor was determined to show his talents were not only suited to the short form of the game and to answer doubts after two failures in the first Test.
While he provided more resistance than any other New Zealander on the first day, he looked like a man fighting for form and he was much less aggressive than is his nature, hitting only seven boundaries.
Pakistan is fielding a depleted bowling attack in this series.
The absence of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Ameer – both under suspension during an ICC investigation into spot-fixing -- should have weakened its seam bowling and the loss of Saeed Ajmal left it without its best spinner.
Instead, the diminished Pakistan attack has risen to the challenge and bowled better than the hosts throughout the series.
Gul has been an outstanding leader of the attack, bowling with pace in trying conditions and snaring early wickets in each innings of the series so far. Tanvir, though slower, and the left-armer Riaz have provided outstanding support, testing the New Zealand batsmen with an exacting line and length.