Kyle Jamieson leads the way as New Zealand pace pack secure 192-run lead
Half-centuries from Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Rizwan, however, helped Pakistan avoid the follow-on
Pakistan 239 (Ashraf 91, Rizwan 71, Jamieson 3-35) trail New Zealand 431 by 192 runs
New Zealand's four-man pace attack has been an unstoppable force at home ever since it took its current shape earlier this year. On the third day at Mount Maunganui, they showed they can be nearly as potent even in conditions without a great deal of help for fast bowling, and even when one member of the quartet has a broken toe.
But as they have done through this Test match, Pakistan kept the hosts from running away with the contest, with defiant half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf reviving their hopes of saving the Test match. Pakistan were 80 for 6 in response to New Zealand's 431 when the two came together, and when Ashraf was last out for 91 to signal stumps on day three, they had avoided the follow-on.
By then, the follow-on question was probably just academic, with Pakistan having kept New Zealand in the field for 102.2 overs in improving batting conditions, and with Neil Wagner having gotten through 21 of those overs - including a 13-over spell either side of lunch - with the aforementioned broken toe. The idea of a tricky fourth-innings chase against Yasir Shah may not have appealed to New Zealand either, given the turn both he and Mitchell Santner have already derived.
In a weird way, Pakistan had achieved what they had set out to do at the start of the day, when their top order adopted a stonewalling approach to try and wear the fast bowlers down and cash in later. For much of the day, it had appeared as if there would be no "later", with the depth of New Zealand's attack giving the specialist batsmen no respite, particularly with Wagner putting his injury behind him to bowl with his usual intensity. But as the ball grew older and the bowlers tired over a long day - stumps were drawn at 7.28pm with play extended thanks to a series of short rain and hail interruptions either side of the tea break - Rizwan and Ashraf went through a period when bat genuinely dominated ball.
When Fawad Alam top-edged a hook to the keeper off Wagner, Pakistan had crawled to 80 for 6 in 59.1 overs. From there until New Zealand took the second new ball, Ashraf and Rizwan counterattacked, scoring 79 runs in 20.5 overs, both batsmen showing a willingness to take on the short ball with the pull.
In the half-hour or so before the second new ball was taken, the pitch seemed at its most benign, with full balls coming to the batsmen in straight lines and short balls sitting up to be hit. Ashraf cut and pulled successive balls from Kyle Jamieson to the boundary. Rizwan punched Tim Southee down the ground, beating mid-off to his right with minimal effort. Jamieson, who had conceded an astonishing nine runs in his first 17 overs, went for 20 in his next three.
The new ball brought the wicket, but not before the seventh-wicket pair had brought Pakistan to within 45 runs of saving the follow-on. With the four quicks doing the bulk of the work, Santner had barely had to bowl his left-arm spin all day, but he made his presence felt with an outstanding run-out to send back Rizwan for 71, a rapid sprint from deep square leg to midwicket followed by a side-arm flick that hit the stumps direct at the non-striker's end.
Yasir Shah came and went quickly, bowled by a Trent Boult inswinger, but Ashraf played his shots - a lofted drive over the covers off Southee was a particular highlight - rode his luck, and trusted the defence of Shaheen Afridi to drag Pakistan past the follow-on mark.
Then, with minutes to go for stumps, a bit of extra bounce from Jamieson found his edge, and his innings ended nine runs short of what would have been an outstanding hundred.
Extra bounce from Jamieson had been one of the main themes of the first half of the day. He had made the initial breakthrough, after Abid Ali and the nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas had seen off Boult and Southee's first spells without too much trouble while barely disturbing the scorers.
Then Jamieson came on and produced two balls that lifted from just short of a length in his first over of the day, getting the first to bounce over Abid's attempted square cut, and the other to crunch into his glove while he attempted to defend.
Those two balls must have been at the back of Abid's mind at the start of Jamieson's next over, because he was late in getting forward to defend a fullish ball delivered from wide of the crease. That created a gap between his front pad and his bat, which came slicing down at an angle, and the ball zipped through to knock back off stump.
Having made this opening, New Zealand burst through it. Boult, who had pushed Abbas back with numerous short balls from over and around the wicket, got him to push weakly at a length ball angling into him, and found his edge through to slip.
It didn't take long for three down to become five down. Southee, returning to the attack for his second spell of the morning, bowled the ball of the session to send back Azhar Ali: angling in towards off stump, straightening late, rooting the batsman to the crease. There was the faintest of edges through to BJ Watling, which umpire Chris Gaffaney failed to pick up, but Watling reviewed immediately, superseding his captain Kane Williamson.
The theme of uncertain footwork continued four balls later, when Haris Sohail failed to get far enough forward to drive a Southee ball angled across him. He edged to gully, and Pakistan were 52 for 5. At this point, a three-day finish didn't seem inconceivable. By the end of the day, Pakistan were somehow still clinging on to visions of a draw.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo