Wellington:Pakistan dismissed New Zealand for 293 at stumps on Tuesday after a dynamic late spell from Umar Gul threw the second Test at the Basin Reserve wide open heading into the final day.
Honours were even on the fourth day, with New Zealand's openers finally clicking to post a 120-run stand and Pakistan then taking seven wickets for 112 in the final session to give themselves a second innings target of 274.
Gul was the pick of Pakistan's bowlers, producing reverse swing to take four wickets to 61 runs -- including first innings centurion Daniel Vettori (1) -- supported by Abdur Rehman with figures of three for 119.
The result set up an intriguing final day as the Black Caps seek to defend a creditable total on a wearing pitch and Pakistan chase their first Test series win since 2007.
Already 1-0 up after a crushing 10-wicket win in Hamilton, the visitors will be content to bat out the day for a draw if Wellington's weather interrupts play as forecast.
The Black Caps appeared headed for a big total when Brendon McCullum (64) and Martin Guptill (73) began the second innings with a 120-run stand, the first time New Zealand's openers have reached 50 in the series.
The opening partnership, only the second to make 100 for the Black caps since 2004, was broken when left-arm spinner Rehman tempted McCullum into an ambitious shot just after lunch that Tanvir Ahmed took comfortably at long off.
From there, only Ross Taylor (52) offered any serious resistance as New Zealand's batting frailties were again exposed when the home side tried to push up the run rate and set an imposing target.
Coach John Wright will be concerned at some of the dismissals as he seeks to improve New Zealand's brittle top order following his appointment in December.
While Reece Young (20) was unlucky to fall to a sensational one-handed catch by Azhar Ali at silly mid-off, Jesse Ryder (17) shouldered arms and allowed an innocuous delivery from part-time spinner Mohammad Hafeez into his stumps.
James Franklin (6) was out soon after when he made a half-hearted defensive prod at a sharply turning ball from Hafeez that carried to Younis Khan in the slips.
The wickets largely curbed New Zealand's aggression, although Tim Southee smashed two sixes in his unbeaten 22, leaving Pakistan with a realistic prospect of taking the series 2-0.
Gul had a gilt-edged opportunity for a hat-trick as he mopped up the tail and brought Chris Martin, with a Test average 2.47, to the crease but the New Zealand bowler managed to fend off a straight delivery with an inside edge.
Hafeez produced some sharply turning deliveries to take two for 31 in a performance that would have given New Zealand skipper Vettori hope his side can bowl out Pakistan on Wednesday to avenge the humiliation in Hamilton.