After Agha Salman had produced his maiden Match century and had helped Pakistan reach 438 in the inaugural cricket test on Tuesday, New Zealand’s opening pair of left-handed batsmen came back with a strong 165-0.

At the end of the second day’s play, Devon Conway and Tom Latham were still undefeated at 82 and 78, respectively, despite Abrar Ahmed’s tough spin.

In its first test visit to Pakistan since 2002, New Zealand is down by 273 points.

Conway also broke John F. Reid’s previous national record by scoring 1,000 test runs in 19 innings.

Ish Sodhi, a Kiwi leg-spinner, remarked, “We still scored at 3.5 (runs) an over without kind of pressing any chances.

“Hopefully tomorrow is the same for us.”

An hour into the last session, Conway was eligible for dismissal on 57, but Pakistan wasted a chance by choosing not to pursue a caught-behind TV referral. Television replays of Nauman Ali’s spin of the ball back into the batter from the rough revealed Conway had gotten a little inside edge.

Against Abrar, who had 17 wickets in two tests against England earlier this month, both hitters made effective use of their feet. Conway scored nine fours in 89 balls to achieve his half-century, including four against Abrar.

As both hitters gained confidence, they didn’t hesitate to even reverse sweep on a pitch that still has some turn for the spinners, and Latham quickly followed by hitting his 50 off 96 balls with six fours.

Conway and Latham got New Zealand to 41-0 by tea before scoring a further 124 runs in the final session, despite Pakistan’s weaker pace attack in the absence of injured Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah.

Both Mohammad Wasim, who was playing just his second test, and left-arm fast bowler Mir Hamza, who had been out of the game for four years after playing his sole test against Australia in 2018, failed to make an impact.

The 29-year-old sick Salman batted courageously earlier on to hit 103 runs with 17 fours while playing with tailenders. When Pakistan was knocked out an hour after lunch, he was the final hitter to be removed from the game.

Salman stated, “I can’t put into words how pleased I feel today after achieving my first test century.

When Salman attempted to play over the seamer but was hit on the back leg and was adjudged out leg before wicket, Tim Southee, the new test captain for the Kiwis, picked up his 350th test wicket and finished out the innings.

The best bowler was Southee, who finished with 3-69, while three spinners—Michael Bracewell (2-72), Sodhi (2-87), and Ajaz Patel (2-112)—shared six wickets between them.

After Pakistan lost Babar Azam in the first over of the day without adding to his outstanding overnight total of 161, Salman, who made his test debut against Sri Lanka earlier this year, was ably backed by the tail in his sixth Test.

Salman kept the clock ticking in the first session during which the visitors gave up only 60 runs after Pakistan started on 317-5 while Nauman Ali (7) fought the New Zealand bowlers for 75 balls in a plodding performance.

Salman lifted his half-century in his sixth test off 97 balls with a straight driven boundary off Neil Wagner after just escaping an lbw TV appeal against Sodhi, but New Zealand struck in back-to-back overs soon before lunch.

Nauman pulled at the left-arm but was superbly collected by Bracewell at square leg, giving Wagner his lone wicket. After being recalled for the tour of Pakistan, Sodhi took his first test wicket in four years when Tom Blundell held onto a slight edge when Mohammad Wasim tried a ramp shot.

After the interval, Salman switched up his approach and smacked Wagner for five boundaries, but he was still 11 runs short of his maiden hundred when No. 11 Abrar Ahmed came in.

Salman didn’t hold back and blasted Southee straight for a boundary before hitting two consecutive boundaries against Sodhi to mark his century off 155 balls.

When Southee discovered the outside edge off his fourth delivery of the day, Babar, who had been dropped on 12, was earlier caught behind for 161 from 280 balls. With a 196-run partnership for the fifth wicket on Monday, the captain and Sarfaraz Ahmed—who scored 86 runs in his first test match in almost four years—saved Pakistan.

Salman added, “I took the burden when Babar was out extremely early (Tuesday), but credit goes to Nauman too, who stuck out there with me and faced around 80 balls.

After the Pakistan Cricket Board was forced to postpone the second Test from Multan to Karachi due to weather concerns, New Zealand is visiting Pakistan for two test matches and three ODIs.