New Zealand appear intent on marking the 50th cricket test at the Basin Reserve ingloriously after a batting collapse had Pakistan eyeing a series-levelling victory after day two of the second test today.

With three days remaining, Pakistan hold a 229 run-lead -- a position of dominance reinforced by New Zealand's 99 in reply to the tourists' first innings of 264.

Pakistan were 64 for two at the close with captain Mohammad Yousuf on 10 and Misbah-ul-Haq on one.

Openers Salman Butt and Imran Farhat provided the only source of New Zealand joy during an otherwise disastrous final session when Iain O'Brien removed the pair in successive overs.

Their departures may yet prove inconsequential given the batting form of their counterparts.

New Zealand's batting misadventures are well documented but today's in a mere 36.5 overs reserves a special place in the catalogue of recent capitulations.

By losing six wickets for 14 runs in 39 balls on a wicket bearing no resemblance to a minefield, New Zealand recorded an all-time low at the venue against Pakistan, relegating the 103 cribbed against a rampant Shoaib Akhtar in the Boxing Day test of 2003.

New Zealand's lowest score against Pakistan at home remains the 93 at Hamilton in 1993 -- though in defence of Stephen Fleming's side, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram were in their pomp sharing the 10 wickets to tumble.

Mohammad Asif -- playing his second test in two years -- 17-year-old Mohammad Aamer, fellow quick Umar Gul and legspinner Danish Kaneria comprised the wrecking crew today -- though the damage was also self-inflicted.

Brendon McCullum was the most obvious culprit, a loose drive to his first ball flew to Shoaib Malik at second slip -- a sharp chance that probably would have gone to ground last week in Dunedin, encapsulating Pakistan's change in fortunes.

McCullum was among four ducks in a New Zealand batting card that might have been even worse had Butt not juggled a bat pad catch from Daniel Flynn six times before fielder and ball hit the turf at short leg.

Flynn sought to make the most of his reprieve, making 29 from 74 balls -- easily the longest stay in terms of deliveries faced.

His optimistic attempt to overturn a leg before wicket dismissal triggered New Zealand's ignominious slide though Ross Taylor's misjudgment was also critical.

New Zealand's form batsman made 30 from 40 balls with a quartet of boundaries before fatally shouldering arms to Gul and having his off stump knocked over.

Peter Fulton's test recall deteriorated in Gul's next over when he was plumb leg before wicket for a two-ball duck; he joins McCullum and Martin Guptill -- the pre-lunch departure -- as New Zealand batsmen who have failed to score since the first innings in Dunedin.

Even Daniel Vettori was powerless to arrest the decline, a prod to slip was among Kaneria's three scalps for the concession of just six runs.

Asif, who took eight wickets at University Oval, led the Pakistan attack with four for 40 though it was the teenager Aamer who was again responsible for the early incision.

Aamer recreated his opening over torment down south, Guptill was the fall guy a second time when he sparred the fifth ball of the innings to Kamran Akmal's gloves.

Earlier, Kamran's 70 was pivotal in Pakistan boosting their overnight score from 161 for six.

The vice-captain and wicketkeeper's 11th test half century revised New Zealand's plans of limiting their opponents to less than 200 as he brushed off a blow to the helmet in the first over of the day from Chris Martin to continue Pakistan's bold attacking policy.

He brought up his fifty in 55 deliveries and eventually stroked eight boundaries before becoming the third of Daryl Tuffey's four victims.

Tuffey, playing his first test in five years, finished with four for 64 from 23.2 overs; Vettori weighed in with four for 58 from 22 but by day's end those figures were rendered irrelevant by their batsmen's shoddy stats.

SCOREBOARD
Pakistan
First innings (161-6 overnight)

I Farhat c Taylor b Vettori 32

S Butt c Tuffey b O'Brien 29

U Akmal b Tuffey 46

M Yousuf lbw b Vettori 0

Misbah-ul-Haq lbw b Vettori 21

S Malik c Vettori b Tuffey 9

K Akmal c Vettori b Tuffey 70

M Aamer c Taylor b O'Brien 21

U Gul c O'Brien b Tuffey 31

M Asif c and b Vettori 4

D Kaneria not out 0

Extras (1w) 1

Total (all out, 88.2 overs) 264

Fall: 60 (Butt), 66 (Farhat), 66 (Yousuf), 119 (U Akmal), 131 (Malik), 156 (Misbah), 193 (Aamer), 257 (K Akmal), 264 (Asif), 264 (Gul)

Bowling: C Martin 20-2-64-0, D Tuffey 23.2-5-64-4, I O'Brien 23-4-78-2 (1w), D Vettori 22-6-58-4.

New Zealand
First innings

T McIntosh c Butt b Asif 4

M Guptill c K Akmal b Aamer 0

D Flynn lbw b Asif 29

R Taylor b Gul 30

P Fulton lbw b Gul 0

G Elliott c and b Kaneria 20

B McCullum c Malik b Asif 0

D Vettori c Misbah b Kaneria 6

D Tuffey c Yousuf b Asif 3

I O'Brien c Farhat b Kaneria 0

C Martin not out 0

Extras (7lb) 7

Total (all out, 36.5 overs) 99

Fall: 1 (Guptill), 5 (McIntosh), 48 (Taylor), 52 (Fulton), 85 (Flynn), 85 (McCullum), 95 (Elliott), 96 (Vettori), 96 (O'Brien), 99 (Tuffey)

Bowling: M Aamer 11-2-25-1, M Asif 12.5-2-40-4, U Gul 7-2-21-2, D Kaneria 6-2-6-3.

Pakistan
Second innings

I Farhat c Fulton b O'Brien 35

S Butt c Taylor b O'Brien 18

M Yousuf not out 10

Misbah-ul-Haq not out 1

Extras 0

Total (for 2 wkts, 23 overs) 64

Fall: 49 (Butt), 54 (Farhat).

Bowling: C Martin 6-1-21-0, D Tuffey 4-0-15-0, I O'Brien 6-1-16-2, D Vettori 7-4-12-0.

- NZPA