Kanpur: Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer led the fightback job for India on day four of the first Test at the Green Park Stadium after New Zealand took four crucial scalps to leave the hosts in trouble.
At lunch, India are 84/5 in 32 overs, leading by 133 runs with Ashwin (20 not out off 35 balls) and Iyer (18 not out off 51 balls) at the crease.
Resuming from the overnight score of 14/1, India were expected to get quick runs but New Zealand bowlers had other plans. The tourists were initially loose but tightened things quickly.
Kyle Jamieson scalped the first wicket of the day in the 12th over, taking out Cheteshwar Pujara with a short ball going down leg, which he gloved behind to keeper Tom Blundell.
Ajinkya Rahane drove Ajaz Patel through extra cover in the 15th over. But on the next ball, Patel had the last laugh, trapping Rahane plumb in front of the wicket with a quick slider.
Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer hit a streaky boundary each until Tim Southee joined the wicket-taking party.
Southee was rewarded for his nagging spell with a double-wicket maiden in the 20th over. He first enticed Agarwal to come forward, forcing a thick outer edge off his bat to second slip. Two balls later, he trapped Ravindra Jadeja lbw with an inswinger for a duck.
Jadeja took the review but replays showed the ball crashing into the leg-stump.
From 51/5 in 19.4 overs, Ashwin and Iyer joined hands to rebuild the Indian innings. The duo mixed caution with aggression while taking three boundaries off Southee and two off Patel but India know that the partnership blossoming between Ashwin and Iyer has to go big if they want to set a huge target for New Zealand.
Brief Scores: India 345 (Shreyas Iyer 105; Tim Southee 5/69) and 84/5 in 32 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 22, Ravichandran Ashwin 20 not out; Kyle Jamieson 2/21, Tim Southee 2/27) vs New Zealand 296 in 142.3 overs (Tom Latham 95; Axar Patel 5/62). India lead by 133 runs.