'Anything over 250 is a big ask' - Chris Martin
Click here to listen to the press conference.
New Zealand's plan at the start of the fourth day in Dunedin would have been to dismiss the tailenders as soon as possible, take a sizeable lead, and then bat Pakistan out of the Test. They achieved their first objective by capturing a 97-run advantage but their quest to accomplish the second was ambushed by Pakistan's seamers and they limped to 147 for 8 before bad light ended play.
However, while acknowledging the missed opportunity to shut out Pakistan, fast bowler Chris Martin felt New Zealand's 244-run lead was nearly enough. "It wasn't a direction we wanted the game to head in but the opportunity is there tomorrow," Martin said. "We may have let an opportunity slip today by not batting them out of the game but, with the lead that we have and the runs that we've got now, the game is poised and is definitely there for us to take tomorrow.
"Anything over 250 on a wearing wicket with variable bounce is going to be a big ask for them, especially if we do everything in a disciplined manner. In the past, our bowling has given us more opportunity to win games and I think that's going to be the case tomorrow."
New Zealand's troubles on Friday were caused by Pakistan's fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer. They swung the ball conventionally, and reverse, cut it, seamed it and thoroughly examined the batsmen's technique. And Martin said he and the other New Zealand bowlers had learnt "quite a lot" by watching the carnage from the dressing room.
"They put us under pressure by bowling straight, making us make a lot of decisions and giving us very few opportunities to score," Martin said. "They got some nip by hitting the wicket hard and got it to wobble around a bit to make it do a little. If we are a thoughtful side, our bowling line-up in particular, we'll be able to take a lot from that and take it into tomorrow."
Martin also offered insight into a baffling moment during New Zealand's innings. Peter Fulton, making his comeback to the Test team, appeared to get an inside edge on to his pad against Umar Gul but he was given out lbw, reducing New Zealand to 91 for 4. Curiously, he didn't ask for a review and made his way off the University Oval.
"He was unsure whether he'd hit the ball," Martin explained. "It was a very fine edge and sometimes you think you hit your pad or your boot or the ground, it's hard to know. It's a new format and such a new part of the game that, like most things, it's going to take a while to get used to it and to get better at it. I think next time if you've got a hunch you'll pretty much go for it [the review]." New Zealand will want to make better use of the system on the final day.