The pitch was a vivid green and had spent a damp day under covers before the toss even took place, so it was little surprise that it was the most seam-friendly strip he had played international cricket on, Azhar Ali said.

Pakistan have refused to blame conditions for the loss at Hagley Oval. They have repeated the Hagley surface was not out of the realm of challenges a professional cricketer can expect to face.

Yet it is clear that even by New Zealand's standards, the surface was especially kind to quicks.

Never before, for example, have all 30 wickets in the first three innings gone to seamers, in a Test in New Zealand. And neither Yasir Shah - the No.5 Test bowler in the world - nor Todd Astle, who took a five-wicket haul on this ground three weeks ago, could pose a threat. They collectively bowled 17.3 overs and emerged wicketless. Azhar's part-time legbreaks did claim one scalp, but this was after the scores had been tied, and the result was a foregone conclusion.

"Maybe this is the most seam-friendly pitch I've played on in my international career," Azhar said after the match. "It reminds of one or two pitches in Sri Lanka where the ball moves for a couple of hours on the first day or two but it starts to settle down. Here the movement is there for longer. It's New Zealand's home conditions so we, as a professional team, just have to play on whatever we get, and that's it."

That their three-day practice match at Nelson had been washed out, exacerbated difficulties for Pakistan, though they did play a long Test series in England earlier this year. That tour had been played in England's late summer, however, while this loss has come in New Zealand's spring. Pakistan were also more effective on the drier tracks in London.

"You usually don't see in Australia, New Zealand or England a pitch that supports the seamers so much," Azhar said. "There was no pitch was like this in England. It swings around there, but not as much grass as that. But this is the pitch we got, and New Zealand played better than us."

In what may be a worrying sign with a tour of Australia on the horizon, the short ball proved particularly effective against Pakistan in the second innings. Younis Khan, Babar Azam and Misbah-ul-Haq all fell to short-pitched bowling - though in dissimilar ways. The bouncer barrage on day three had been perhaps the definitive period of play in this Test.

"If you come to this part of the world, you do expect that," Azhar said. "You expect sub-continent teams will be tested with that short stuff and we all knew that. But as time goes on, we'll get better, and we're hopeful to turn things around quickly."

Though he only made 31 runs, Azhar had played the longest innings of the Test, surviving for over four hours, to face 173 deliveries. Having had an outstanding series in West Indies, he said he felt his own form was holding up.

"As a batsman, I was applying myself and trying to battle out the conditions when it was tough," he said. "The New Zealand bowlers held their plans really well, and held their lines long enough to create chances. We couldn't get the flow of runs going at any stage, so that's why sometimes it's hard as a batsman. You're trying to play well and do everything right, but the opposition sometimes doesn't allow you to score runs.

"But I'm confident that everything in my game is going alright. It's just a matter of time until you start playing fluently and the runs start coming."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando