NZ on top as Pakistan face gruelling final day.

KARACHI -- In fading light, the shadows of the stands now covering most of the ground at the National Stadium, the stumps had been lit up twice, first by Tim Southee and then Ish Sodhi. Faced with a target of 319 to win the second and final Test against New Zealand, Pakistan's aim would've been to emerge unscathed from the three overs remaining and fight it out on the final day. It didn't happen.

New Zealand require eight more wickets on Friday to win the series. Pakistan need to survive a grilling to stave off a third straight home series defeat with New Zealand leaving them on the ropes at 0-2 in their second innings having declared theirs at 277-5 - after having gained a 41-run first-innings lead -- early on Thursday.

Southee's decision to have a bowl at Pakistan ahead of the day's close paid immediate dividends when the New Zealand skipper accounted for struggling opener Abdullah Shafique with his second delivery. Abdullah had left the first ball outside his off but on the second, he was cleaned up by a delivery that stayed low and found the mark.

The decision to send on nightwatchman Mir Hamza then backfired spectacularly for the hosts. Hamza had seen off Southee on his first four deliveries and was blocking Sodhi as the New Zealand leg-spinner, who'd started the day by finishing off Pakistan's first innings, came to bowl the final over of the day. Hamza had been successful on the first four balls but was undone on the fifth as New Zealand camped all their fielders around his bat to ramp up pressure. He was deceived by the spin and bowled between bat and pad.

That was how it closed. Pakistan, having earlier been defied by half-centuries from Tom Blundell and Michael Bracewell after they had reduced New Zealand to 128-4, needing to better their record chase at the National Stadium - 315 against Australia in 1994 - to end this season with a Test victory.

Then, it was Inzamam-ul-Haq whose half-century took Pakistan through. Almost three decades on, his nephew Imam-ul-Haq would be at the crease when play resumes on Friday. 'I think we can survive tomorrow,' Pakistan's bowling coach Shaun Tait told reporters at the post-day press conference.

Tait, though, would rue Pakistan's missed chances in the field, especially after they had taken three New Zealand wickets for 14 runs after lunch. 'It's not a wicket where you take three in a row,' he said. 'They have some good batters and it isn't really easy to get consistent breakthroughs. But, yeah...

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