Blackcaps vs Pakistan: BJ Watling encouraged by first-innings effort in Abu Dhabi

Wicketkeeper batsman BJ Watling is quietly confident that the Blackcaps did enough in their first innings to put Pakistan under pressure in the decisive third test in Abu Dhabi.

After winning a critical toss, Watling was an anchor of New Zealand's batting effort. He produced a typically patient knock to guide his side through some challenging periods and finished unbeaten on 77 off 250 balls.

Despite an assured start to Pakistan's response - 139/3 at the close of play - Watling says the Blackcaps are just a matter of a pair of wickets away from wresting back control.

"They’ve played really well today and got off to a decent start, but we are two or three wickets away from putting them under a lot of pressure," Watling said.

"We've kept them under control, they're still 150 runs behind. We are here to play the long game, and hopefully we can put some pressure on them tomorrow and see where the game leads.

"It's hard to judge our score based on they haven’t batted a full innings yet. I guess tomorrow will be the telling factor."

As expected, conditions have been tough on the bowlers. Seamer Trent Boult's quickfire brace had the hosts teetering at 17/2, but it was slim pickings from there for the attack.

Tim Southee was the only other bowler to taste any success.

From his unique perspective behind the stumps, Watling was still encouraged by how the pitch may play out over the remaining three days.

"It's been pretty slow… but there are some cracks in the surface starting to appear.

"The quicks have had a bit of varied bounce, so that will make things interesting in the coming days.

"Pakistan played well today, but we asked some really good questions with the ball."

As for his own innings, Watling assessment was as stoic as his approach at the crease, pleased to have played a part in an improved first innings total, after NZ's woeful outings in the first two tests.

"It's great to score runs and it was good to help the team put a competitive first innings total on.

"It was important for us to make sure we put something on the board to make sure we have a chance to win.

"We probably let ourselves down in the first innings in both the other tests, so it was good to help out and contribute to that."

Play gets underway on Day Three at 7pm Wednesday (NZ time).