Azhar, who was dismissed seven runs short of his 18th Test century, said he was keen to get to the three-figure mark.
“Have not got a hundred as yet in New Zealand, but overall, I think it is one of my better innings as the conditions were good for bowlers and it was a challenge batting out there,” he said.
Former skipper Azhar, a veteran of 83 Tests, said despite the difficult conditions it was pleasing to see Pakistan post a good total and play positive cricket.
“We feel we have enough runs on the board as the pitch is still good for bowlers.”
Azhar, talking about his innings, said he knew beforehand the first couple of hours would be difficult for the batsmen.
“With so much grass on the pitch I knew I had to apply myself and focus for a long stay at the wicket.”
“The good thing was that we were positive today and when the ball was in the zone to be scored from we took advantage of that. This approach is necessary because on this sort of pitch you know you are going to get one good ball sooner or later.”
Azhar, who stepped down as Test captain before the New Zealand tour, said the pitch also had runs for the batsmen if one applied himself and picked the right shots to play.
Azhar also praised the batting of Rizwan Ali and the lower-order pair of Faheem Ashraf and debutant Zafar Gohar, saying they all batted positively in testing conditions.
He said Zafar made an impressive debut and hoped he would get many more runs and wickets for Pakistan in future.
Azhar faced 37 balls from the 6’8″ Kyle Jamieson, scoring 26 runs, including five fours. Jamieson finished with a five-for.
“He is quite tall and he is constantly good line and lengths and moves the ball both ways plus he can get a disconcerting bounce But I was ready to hit the ball when it was there to be hit.”