Blackcaps v Pakistan: Openers Devon Conway, Tom Latham continue world-leading form for New Zealand

Blackcaps star Devon Conway laid down another marker of his class on day one of the second test against Pakistan on Monday.

Conway, 31, compiled a deftly paced 122 to record his fourth test century in just 20 innings, helping New Zealand through to 302/6 at the close of play in Karachi.

Coming just days after becoming the fastest NZ batter to surpass 1,000 test runs during the first test draw last week, the innings took Conway's staggering test average to 54.10, as the remakable start to his career in whites continued.

"It's been a good ride so far," said Conway after the day's play.  "I've only played a handful of test games so it's nice to get the opportunity to play and contribute for the team."

Almost equally impressive has been his tandem with Tom Latham at the top of the order, which has proven to be one of the most formidable in world cricket.

Devon Conway and Tom Latham have become test cricket's best opening pai.
Devon Conway and Tom Latham have become test cricket's best opening pai. Photo credit: Getty Images

After captain Tim Southee won the toss and elected to bat, Conway combined with fellow Latham (71) for a first-wicket stand of 134 runs, reiterating their standing as one of the game's best opening duos.

In eight test innings opening the batting together, the pair have averaged 67.25 runs - more than any other international pairing with a minimum of 500 runs since 2016.

When he was joined by Kane Williamson at the crease, Conway proceeded to build a second straight 100-run partnership, increasing his run rate by going after spinner Abar Ahmed, who he tormented with eight fours and a six.

"With the nature of the grass on the surface, it had maintained a bit of pace in the wicket," Conway explained.

"When the ball's harder, it comes off the bat a bit better as well. We were rewarded for good cricket shots that went for boundaries. We managed to get off to a quick start."

Unfortunately for the Blackcaps, that rock-solid foundation quickly crumbled in the final session.

Dominantly positioned at 234/1, Conway's departure triggered a late collapse that saw Pakistan claim five wickets at the expense of only 45 runs to drastically pull the ledger back and leave the contest finely balanced heading into day two.

"The game is certainly evenly poised," Conway admitted. "We did win those first two sessions, but the way Pakistan have bounced back in that last session certainly brought them back in the game."

Agha Salman (3/55) was able to extract plenty of turn from the rapidly changing pitch in Karachi, which could bode well for the Blackcaps - who have a trio of spinners in their XI - to exploit, particularly later in the match.

"It's starting to change," Conway said. "After tea, there was a bit more turn on offer, which is showing the nature of the wicket drying out and assisting the spinners a little bit more. 

"It's skidding on a little bit more, and there isn't as much carry as the morning, so it's interesting to see what the wicket will look like on the last three days."

The Blackcaps resume their first innings at 6pm (NZ time), with Tom Blundell on 30 and Ish Sodhi at 11.