New Zealand’s batsmen went on the attack for the first time in the series as Brendon McCullum rode his luck to hit a half century on the fourth day of the second Test against Pakistan on Tuesday.
McCullum (58) and Martin Guptill (38) had put on an unbeaten 106 by lunch in New Zealand’s second innings to give the Black Caps an overall lead of 86 runs after Pakistan notched 376 in their first innings.
It was the first time a New Zealand opening partnership has reached more than 50 in the series, allowing the Black Caps the luxury of some aggressive shot-making as they looked for quick runs in the hope of forcing a result.
McCullum had a life when he was dropped on 26 and made the most of his reprieve, smashing Abdur Rehman for six off the next ball.
His half century came off 76 balls and included six fours and one six.
Guptill was also dropped on 34, when Tanvir Ahmed failed to take a difficult catch off his own bowling.
Umar Gul was the most economical of Pakistan’s bowlers in the humid, cloudy conditions, going for 18 runs off eight overs, while a wayward three-over spell from Wahab Riaz cost 25 runs, including four no-balls.
Already 1-0 up in the two Test series and with forecast bad weather increasing the likelihood of a draw, Pakistan were content to set defensive fields to limit New Zealand’s progress.