New Zealand seamer Brent Arnel captured two of three Pakistan wickets that fell in the middle session of day two of the second test Saturday, leaving the tourists at 136-4 at tea and the match evenly poised.
Pakistan began the day brightly by quickly mopping up New Zealand's tail, dismissing the home side for 275 in its first innings, and then moving to 67-1 at lunch to take the upper hand.
However Pakistan lost Azhar Ali soon after the resumption, then Arnel removed both Taufeeq Umar for 54 and Younis Khan for 23 as New Zealand cut into the tourists' middle order.
Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq was 7 not out and Asad Shafiq was unbeaten on 24 at tea. The partnership may be vital as Misbah and Shafiq are Pakistan's last specialist pair.
The next man in, wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, marks the start of a long tail.
Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez was out on the fourth ball of its innings, caught low at slip by Tim McIntosh off Chris Martin without a run on the board. However Taufeeq and Ashar put on 72 for the second wicket in a partnership which wrested back the initiative.
The loss of Azhar, caught behind off Martin's bowling, immediately after lunch left it 72-2, then Taufeeq and Younis fell in quick succession.
Taufeeq had dashed to 48 with 11 fours or 44 runs from boundaries but he then became stalled on that score for several overs. He finally brought up his half century from 98 balls but was out soon after, caught by Kane Williamson at cover off Arnel.
Younis offered a simple return catch to Arnel three runs later.