Chris Martin claimed five wickets and Kane Williamson and Jesse Ryder hit centuries to help New Zealand push for victory against India, on Day 4 of the first Test at the Sardar Patel stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, on Sunday.
At close on day four, India were struggling at 82 for six in 40 overs, for an overall lead of 109 runs.
Pacer Martin destroyed the Indian top order as he took five wickets for 25 runs from 13 overs. VVS Laxman was once again holding forte for India as he resurrected the initial damage with a patient knock of 34 from 99 balls, while Harbhajan Singh was unbeaten on 12.
The match seemed to be heading for a draw after New Zealand had scored 459 in their first innings in reply to India's 487. However, Martin's four-wicket burst with the new ball that saw India being reduced to 15 for five at one stage has given New Zealand a chance to push for an unlikely victory.
Gautam Gambhir was out for a duck in the first over, while Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid could only score one. Sachin Tendulkar was bowled off an inside edge for 12, while Suresh Raina was caught in the slips for a duck to leave India tottering at 15 for five at one stage.
Earlier, Kane Williamson and Jesse Ryder hit centuries to help New Zealand post a healthy 459 in their first innings. India, who scored 487 in their first innings, managed to take a slender lead of 28 runs.
Ojha registered wonderful figures of four for 107 in 53 overs, but his senior spinning partner Harbhajan Singh struggled as he took one for 112 in 43 overs. Pacers Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth also claimed two wickets apiece, with figures of two for 70 and two for 88 respectively.
Youngster Williamson fell after a splendid innings 131 from 299 balls, laced with ten boundaries, that helped the visitors make a strong reply to India's first innings score of 487. The 20-year-old was caught by VVS Laxman at first slip off Ojha after having added 86 runs for the sixth wicket with captain Daniel Vettori (41).
On Day 3, Jesse Ryder and debutant Kane Williamson rallied New Zealand with some resolute batting as they put on a fifth-wicket partnership of 194 to take their team past the follow-on mark. Ryder (103) and Williamson defied the Indian bowlers after New Zealand had been reduced to 137 for four in reply to India's first innings 487.
India had scored 487 in their first innings, courtesy of centuries from Virender Sehwag (173) and Rahul Dravid (104) and Harbhajan Singh's late blast (69 from 97 balls).
Morning session: (86 runs, 27 overs, 1 wicket)
In the second over of the day, Vettori survived a huge appeal for leg before wicket against Zaheer courtesy of an inside edge.
Williams got the first boundary of the day when his thick edge flew wide of the slips to take him into the 90s.
Vettori again survived a huge shout for leg before wicket, this time against Sreesanth, as he was hit in front of the stumps trying to play it across the line on the leg side.
Then came the moment the whole New Zealand team was waiting for. Debutant Williamson was rewarded for his persistence as he brought up his century, to become the eighth Kiwi batsman to score a ton in his first Test match.
Williamson flicked Zaheer fine through the leg side for a boundary to bring up the milestone in 244 balls, in the 123rd over.
Once again the Indian bowlers failed to make an impression and the Kiwi batsmen were able to negotiate them and also score runs at a fair pace.
In his first appearance on Indian soil, Williamson continued to impress as he pulled a short delivery from Harbhajan through midwicket for a four.
Vettori took time to get his first boundary. He drove a full delivery from Zaheer down the ground for his first four after 39 balls, in the 132nd over.
Ojha was finally introduced into the attack, but he suffered in his first over. Vettori looked to attack the young spinner as he charged down the wicket and lofted Ojha over long-off for a six and take New Zealand to 400 for five in 137 overs.
Meanwhile, Vettori, when his scored reached 38, joined the exclusive club of Ian Botham and Kapil Dev with 4000 runs and 300 wickets in Tests.
India finally had some joy as they ended the session with a wicket.
Ojha got Williamson to push outside the off-stump only to edge it behind and was taken by VVS Laxman at first slip after a fine innings of 131, hitting 10 fours in 299 balls.
At lunch on day four, New Zealand reached 417 for six in 144.3 overs, trailing India's score by 70 runs.
Vettori also showed great application as he made 41 from 89 balls, adding 86 runs for the sixth wicket with Williamson.
Post lunch session: (44 runs, 7 wickets, 26 overs)
Dhoni brought on part-timer Suresh Raina after the break and the gamble worked. Raina struck with the wicket of Daniel Vettori, who was caught behind for 41 from 95 balls, as New Zealand lost two wickets without adding a run to be reduced to 417 for seven after 146 overs.
Gareth Hopkins (8) got a lifeline when his outside edge was dropped by wicketkeeper Dhoni off Raina, in the 154th over.
Jeetan Patel drove Raina through midwicket for a four and a few overs late Grant Hopkins slog swept Ojha through the same for yet another four as the lower order looked to score some runs.
Ojha continued to persist on a good line and length and was rewarded with the wicket of Grant Hopkins, who was trapped leg before wicket for 14.
In the next over, pacer Sreesanth got one to swing in sharply beating Patel all ends to bowl him for 14.
The last wicket frustrated the Indians for a few overs before Zaheer bowled Hamish Bennett for four.
Chris Martin finished unbeaten on three as New Zealand were bowled out for 459 in 165.4 overs to give India a slender lead of 28 runs.
Ojha toiled hard and was duly rewarded with figures of four for 107 in 53 overs, but Harbhajan struggled to make an impact with one for 112 in 43 overs. Pacers Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth also claimed two wickets apiece, with figures of two for 70 and two for 88 respectively.
(India 2nd innings)
Gambhir disappointed yet again as he fell for a duck. The left-hander, struggling for runs, flirted at a wide delivery from Martin only to get an inside edge and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Hopkins in the first over of the innings.
With Hamish Bennett and Jesse Ryder unable to bowl because of injuries, Daniel Vettori was forced to take the new ball.
India were then dealt another big blow when opener Virender Sehwag was run out for one. Sehwag, who scored a century in the first innings, was run out after a brilliant piece of fielding in the covers from substitute Martin Guptill to reduce India to one for two in two overs.
Incidentally, Guptil had dropped Sehwag in the first innings as he went to score a century but he made up for that error.
Rahul Dravid was beaten by the delivery that didn't come in but left him to take his edge to wicketkeeper Hopkins for one and give Martin his second wicket.
At tea on the fourth day, India were reeling at two for three in 4.5 overs, having lost their top order for virtually nothing.
Post tea session: (80 runs, 3 wickets, 35.1 overs)
Sachin Tendulkar brought some cheer back to the Indian dressing room after the break with a couple of boundaries in Martin's fourth over, through point and straight down the ground.
But Martin had his revenge in the next over. Tendulkar once again tried to drive the inswinger but only managed to get an inside edge, which crashed back on to his stumps and bowl him for 12.
Suresh Raina also perished for a duck when he played away from his body only edge it to Ross Taylor at first slip and give Martin his fourth wicket of the innings to reduce India to 15 for five in the 11th over.
The onus now lay on India's crisis man VVS Laxman to bail them out of this mess and captain Dhoni to lead from the front.
New Zealand managed to keep it tight before Dhoni jumped down the wicket to Vettori and lofted him over mid-on for a boundary, the first after nearly 12 overs.
Laxman showed great patience as he looked to play out the overs and steady the innings. He got his first boundary off the 66th ball he faced when he pulled a short delivery from Williamson through midwicket, in the 27th over.
In the next over, Laxman was fortunate when his slog sweep just flew over the square fielder for another four that took India past the 50-run mark.
Martin came back for a new spell and once again he was among the wickets. Dhoni went on the backfoot to defend a short incoming delivery but only managed to play it back on his stumps to be bowled for 22.
Dhoni resurrected the innings somewhat as he put on 50 runs 24.4 overs for the sixth wicket with Laxman.
Laxman was keen not to let the bowlers dominate as he pulled a short delivery from Martin through square leg. In the next over, Harbhajan lofted Vettori straight back over his head for the first six of the innings to help India's lead stretch above the 100-run mark.
At stumps on day four, India reached 82 for six in 40 overs, for an overall lead of 110 runs.
Despite the carnage around him, Laxman showed great composure to score 34 from 99 balls, while Harbhajan Singh made 12.
Martin single-handedly had turned the game around for the Kiwis with an outstanding spell of five for 25 in 13 overs, including seven maidens.
With three sessions to go, New Zealand must be fancying their chances of finishing the Indian innings early and complete a deserved victory on the final day.