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New Zealand springboard in Wellington

WELLINGTON: Openers Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill gave New Zealand a good springboard to launch an all out assault later on the fourth day of the second Test against Pakistan as they moved to 106 without loss at lunch, a lead of 86 runs.

Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill

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Mccullum, who was dropped in close while on 26, had quickly moved to his 19th Test half century and was on 58 at the break, while Guptill, dropped by Tanvir Ahmed on 34 just before lunch, was on 38.

It is just the second century-opening stand by New Zealand since 2004.

Pakistan had been bowled out for 376, a first innings lead of 20 runs, late on Monday. They hold a 1-0 lead in the two-match series and are seeking their first Test series victory since 2006.

New Zealand’s aggressive batting line-up will be hoping to push along the scoring in the afternoon sessions in an attempt to set Pakistan a target on the fifth day pitch that could suit the left arm spin of captain Daniel Vettori.

Poor weather has been forecast with heavy rain due to hit the lower North Island later on Tuesday, though latest forecasts suggest it could bypass the Wellington region.

McCullum had given just the one chance when he prodded at an Abdul Rehman delivery and the ball was dropped by the close fielder. To rub salt into the wound, McCullum then smashed the next delivery over long-off for six.

That shot unleashed the shackles somewhat, with McCullum in particular picking up the scoring rate in humid, overcast conditions and threatening to provide more fireworks after the break that could force the pace of the match along.

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