Pakistan, who won the toss and chose to bat, lost opener Shan Masood for 12 but Mohammad Hafeez (47) and Azhar Ali (20) remained together at the break on a flat and grassless Sharjah stadium pitch.
Pakistan lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Abu Dhabi and drawing the second in Dubai.
Pakistan brought in Hafeez and paceman Mohammad Talha for Taufeeq Umar and Ehsan Adil.
New Zealand veteran left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori staged a comeback to Test cricket after a 28-month gap, replacing Jimmy Neesham.
He became his country’s most capped player with his 112th Test appearance, beating Stephen Fleming who played 111. (AFP)