Kolkata, Oct 2: New Zealand pace duo of Matt Henry and Trent Boult rocked the Indian batting line-up in the second innings during post lunch session on Day 3 of penultimate Test match here on Sunday (Oct 2).
Match Scorecard; Photo gallery; Day 2 report
India were 227/8 at stumps with Wriddhiman Saha (39*) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (9*) were still at the crease.
Earlier, starting the day at 128/7, New Zealand were dismissed for 204 in 53 overs in their first innings.
Rohit Sharma made a patient 82 to bring Indian into the driver's seat as the hosts took a lead of 339 runs at a pitch where chasing a target of 300-plus runs is almost impossible.
Sharma deserved to score a Test century at his favourite ground where he has accumulated runs at an average of 87 in Tests. Rohit fell 18 short of his to Mitchell Santner. Wriddhiman Saha batted beautifully in the second innings as well after the local boy slammed fifty in the first innings.
Rohit made his intentions clear by hitting Jeetan Patel for a six over midwicket early in his innings, and when Trent Boult (2/28) was making the ball talk bowling at shoulder height, the Indian counter-attacked with a pull over square leg boundary.
There was a minor blip for Rohit when Patel almost castled the Indian but the delivery missed the off-stump and the Eden did not deny him a half-century.
Kohli was unlucky to be dismissed at 45, who along with Rohit gathered the Indian innings after being floored down by Kiwi pacers in the post lunch session.
Kohli (45), Sharma and Saha were the only India batsmen who offered resistance to New Zealand pace battery. Thanks to Kohli-Sharma's heroics the hosts came back strongly in the third session.
The duo put up a 48 run stand to help India overcome early hiccups. But Kohli was plumbed by Boult as the visitors pushed hosts on the backfoot in the dramatic session, where wickets kept falling at regular interval. It was the seventh consecutive innings from Kohli below 50.
It was another top-order collapse barring Kohli who hit seven delightful boundaries and shared 48 runs with Rohit which took India's lead past 200.
There were about 25,000 spectators in the stands, the best in the ongoing Test, who did not mind the extreme heat and humidity. Kohli gave them lots to cheer for by effortlessly guiding the ball away in his solid knock. Kohli had a close shave when he was yet to open his account.
The Indian skipper was hit on his front pad but replays showed the ball was going down the leg and fortunately for Kohli the umpire ruled out the loud appeals.
After Kohli departed, the new man in Ravichandran Ashwin was removed by leg-spinner Mitchell Santner at his individual score of 5. Santner finished the day with two more wickets in his kitty.
Saha and Rohit once again played cautiously as visitors kept testing their patience. But the duo's patience paid as they slowly stitched a partnership of 103 runs for the seventh wicket.
Henry gave initial breakthroughs to the hosts by removing in form Murali Vijay (7) and Cheteshwar Pujara (4) and later showed the doors to Ajinkya Rahane (1) with his pace. Trent Boult plumbed out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan on 17. Under pressure Dhawan made just one in the first innings.
Left-handed Dhawan took blows on his bottom hand thumb twice with the ball rising awkwardly as he survived some anxious moments and opened his account after 14 balls and the swollen thumb had to be taped.
(Virat Kohli's poor Test form in home conditions continues)
In reply to India's 316 in the first innings, New Zealand were bundled out in the first hour's play after some late charge by Jeetan Patel (47), who emerged as the top-scorer for the visitors.
Playing his first Test after more than three years, No. 9 batsman Patel, the off-spinner who was flown in from England to replace an injured Mark Craig, shared a 60-run partnership with BJ Watling (25).
Patel's careerbest score took New Zealand past the 200-mark but he could not make further inroad after Ravichandran Ashwin gave the first breakthrough of the day in his first over.
Mohammed Shami (3/70) then dismissed Watling (25) and Neil Wagner (10) in successive overs to wrap the tail giving India a 112-run first innings lead.
India's pacer duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/48) and Shami accounted for eight wickets, while the spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin took one each.
That India's ace spinner Ashwin bowled just eight overs sums up the relaid Eden surface which has surprised many with its variable bounce and carry.
Resuming on 128/7 in 34.0 overs with a 15-minute early start, New Zealand survived the opening hour's play which included a brief 10-minute rain halt.
There was little movement with the old ball as the Indian pace duo of Bhuvneshwar, who took a five-wicket haul yesterday looked, and Shami looked less ominous.
The straighter one from @ashwinravi99 ends an entertaining innings from Jeetan Patel. He gave them more than expected.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) October 2, 2016
Jadeja was introduced in the fifth over of the day but the 36-year-old Patel who has an experience of playing in these conditions looked at ease hitting the left-arm spinner for two boundaries in his first over of the day.
Patel raced to 47 from 44 balls with three boundaries in one Jadeja over before being adjudged lbw after he was hit on his backfoot but he survived as the India spinner had overstepped.
But Ashwin dismissed Patel in the same score, denying him his first International half-century, after he skied one catch to Shami while trying to clear mid-on.
Meanwhile, there was relief for India as top-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who was absent from fielding yesterday, had recovered from his illness and was out in the field. India lead the three-match series 1-0 after their 197-run win in the Kanpur Test.