Azhar Ali struck a fighting half-century to help Pakistan recover to 139-3 at close on the second day of the third Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi.
It marked a good recovery from 17-2 after Kiwi pace bowler Trent Boult ripped out openers Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammed Hafeez, who later announced his retirement from Test cricket.
Azhar was unbeaten on 62 at the close having shared a dogged, unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 54 with Asad Shafiq, who will resume on 26.
Pakistan are still 135 runs adrift of New Zealand's first-innings total of 274 in which BJ Watling made a gutsy and vital 77 not out.
The three-match series is tied at 1-1 after New Zealand won the first Test in Abu Dhabi by four runs before Pakistan bounced back with an innings-and-16-run win in the second in Dubai.
Azhar remains key for Pakistan if they are to build any kind of first-innings lead.
The 33-year-old dropped anchor and found the boundary just four times as he crawled through to his 32nd Test half-century. His 62 not out was carved painstakingly from 169 deliveries as the Pakistan scoring rate struggled to rise above two an over.
The equally-experienced Shafiq hit the same number of fours in his 26 which has so far occupied 85 balls.