Blackcaps v Pakistan: NZ in position to push for second test, series victory in coming days

With two days left in the second test against Pakistan, the Blackcaps believe they still have the ability and the time to push for a series victory, wicketkeeper Tom Blundell says.

At the close of play on day three at Karachi's National Stadium the Blackcaps lead by just 42 runs, as Pakistan countered New Zealand's first innings of 449 with 407/9.

Both sides return to the middle on day four, beginning on Thursday (NZ time) with the Blackcaps needing to take Pakistan's final first innings wicket before trying to set a target for the fourth innings.

Ish Sodhi celebrates a wicket.
Ish Sodhi celebrates a wicket. Photo credit: Getty Images

Physically, much is being demanded of both sets of players. Just two days passed between the first test at the same venue - a draw - and the start of the second.

But an ever slight improvement in conditions for the bowlers - and fast bowlers in particular - plays more into New Zealand's hands than Pakistan's.

And for Blundell, who himself added a vital 51 with the bat in the first innings and completed two dismissals in the second, fatigue isn't a factor in New Zealand's push for victory over the coming two days.

"It's pretty uncommon to get two days between tests," Blundell said. "But the boys are relatively fresh.

"It's tough conditions when you play on wickets like this. But overall, we're pretty hungry for a result over here.

"And I think we're in a pretty good position."

The Blackcaps congratulate Tom Blundell.
The Blackcaps congratulate Tom Blundell. Photo credit: Getty Images

But with conditions still leaning towards the batters, Blundell also concedes victory from this position will be a big ask for either side.

So far, 19 wickets have fallen across the first three days, while 856 runs have been scored across both first innings. 

In total, a maximum of 21 at most would need to fall for a result in Pakistan's favour, unless the Blackcaps can set a large enough total to take the 10 they need for a win of their own.

"I think it's still a flat wicket to be honest," he said. "[It's] a little bit variable in bounce, but I think overall, it's still a pretty good wicket. 

"I don't see it deteriorating too much, but we shall see…The wicket's pretty flat still. 

"We've got a job tomorrow, to get this last wicket and then we'll have to reassess.

"Pakistan have a good batting lineup, they've shown this in the last couple of games.

"We're probably going to need a big total."

And while New Zealand's spinners have taken five of the Blackcaps' nine wickets so far, Blundell has faith in the seaming pair of captain Tim Southee and Matt Henry to do the job in the second innings.

"This wicket has a bit more bounce, and brings in our quick bowlers. I thought they did a hell of a job, bowling as many overs as they did on a pretty flat wicket.

"Once the ball starts reversing, we feel like we're in the game.

"I thought they did a hell of a job to bowl so many overs on a pretty flat wicket."

Should New Zealand achieve victory over the coming two days, it would be only the Blackcaps' third test victory on Pakistan soil, and first since 1996.