Northern Districts stalwarts BJ Watling and Tim Southee presented New Zealand with a potentially series-clinching advantage on the second day of the second test against Pakistan in Hamilton.

Watling eked out crucial runs with the tail on his way to an unbeaten 49, while Southee was at his marauding best with the ball, taking three wickets for 26 runs from 11 overs.

The prospect of toppling the world's No 2 side 2-0 looms. The last time New Zealand beat Pakistan in a series was in the summer of 1984-85. The visitors' most recent series defeat came against Sri Lanka in August 2014.

At 76 for five in response to New Zealand's 271, Pakistan risks being dismantled.

Advertisement

Southee has struggled with the red ball this year. Before Pakistan's arrival he had 14 wickets at 46.14, striking every 15 overs.

However, his flair returned in Christchurch, with five wickets for 73 runs from 42.4 overs. In this test he stepped up further in Trent Boult's absence to find rhythm and generate enough movement to wreak havoc with Pakistani judgments. His bowling arm came down like a guillotine.

Southee got the ball to deviate away from left-hander Sami Aslam, allowing Jeet Raval to take the catch at second slip in the fifth over. In a touch of serendipity, Raval had been dropped by Aslam twice on his way to 55.

Southee followed by angling in and getting the ball to move away from Azhar Ali in the same over. Earlier he had brought a delivery back to create doubt in the batsman's mind. In the ninth over he lured Younis Khan into driving away from his body, Watling snaffled both gifts.

In six tests at Seddon Park in a 54-match career, Southee has 29 wickets at 19, securing a wicket every 38 balls. Compare that with 185 career wickets at 31.75 and a strike rate of 63. He took seven for 83, including a five-wicket bag, at the venue last month for ND against Canterbury in the Plunket Shield.

Once the Pakistani shackles were broken, Neil Wagner got Asad Shafiq to play on, before tempting Mohammad Rizwan into a hook from the first ball of his test career. The screaming ball was muted by Matt Henry's hands at long leg.

The bowling performance capitalised on a solid batting foundation, summarised by the hosts leaving balls outside off stump better than the visitors.

Starting the day at 77 for two, Raval continued to weave out of harm's way and drive convincingly. He further justified the selectors' faith after his 55 and 36 not out on debut. Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme contributed 37s. Taylor added eight to his overnight score, whereas de Grandhomme formed part of a 51-run sixth-wicket stand with Watling. The last four New Zealand partnerships harvested 101 runs.

Watling's effort was his best in 10 test innings, since plundering 107 and 83 against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo.

"I enjoy batting with the tail, which can be a challenge sometimes. You've got to keep them focused to try to eke out as many runs as you can," he said.

Sohail Khan, Mohammad Amir, Imran Khan and Wahab Riaz produced their share of intimidating moments with the ball, but those were mandatory in the absence of leg spinner Yasir Shah, especially as the pitch browned off.

Sohail finished with four for 99 from 25 overs and Imran three for 52 from 20.4. Amir could consider himself unlucky with two for 59 from 19, figures spoilt by dropped catches.

"There's no need for spinners if they just kill time and stop runs," Sohail said. "This game already looks more attacking and four fast bowlers with one good session could finish an opponent off.

"271 is a bit on the high side after we won the toss."