India posted a mammoth first innings score before claiming a couple of wickets to continue their domination against New Zealand, on Day 2 of the first Test, at the Sardar Patel stadium, in Motera, Ahmedabad, on Friday.
At stumps on the second day, New Zealand reached 69 for two after 28 overs with Brendon McCullum on 38 from 75 balls and Ross Taylor on 18 from 61 balls.
Opener Tim McIntosh was caught behind for a duck as he tried to avoid a short delivery from Zaheer Khan. Bradley-John Watling was beaten all ends up a superb delivery from Pragyan Ojha that turned a bit and beat his defences to bowl him for six to reduce the visitors to 27 for two in the tenth over.
Earlier, centuries from Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid helped India post a mammoth first innings score of 487.
Harbhajan Singh stroked a career-best 69 from 97 balls, having hit five fours and three sixes, before he was the final wicket to fall. He was caught behind off Daniel Vettori, who toiled hard for superb figures of four for 118 in 54.5 overs, while Jeetan Patel also staged a good comeback as he claimed three for 135 in 29 overs.
Sehwag and Dravid hit contrasting centuries to give India a good start after they had elected to bat. Sehwag dominated from the start, stroking his way to a cracking 173 from 199 balls, inclusive of 24 boundaries and a six, before he was bowled by Vettori.
Dravid blossomed after a cautious start to score 104 from 227 balls before he inside-edged a short delivery from Chris Martin back on to his stumps. The duo put on 237 runs in 376 balls for the second wicket as India dominated day one.
Resuming on 329 for three, India adopted a cautious approach before losing a few quick wickets. Off-spinner triggered a mini collapse as he claimed the wickets of overnight batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. Tendulkar was the first wicket to fall in the day when he charged down the wicket but chipped one straight back to the bowler Jeetan Patel to be dismissed for a patient 40 from 133 balls.
Morning session: (63 runs, 30.2 overs, 3 wickets)
New Zealand's hopes of restricting India were dealt a blow after pacer Hamish Bennett was unable to bowl because of a groin strain.
New Zealand's tactics were quite clear and that was to stop the flow of runs and build pressure. The visitors started off well with just two runs coming in the first five overs of the day, with Daniel Vettori and Chris Martin able to keep a tight line and length.
Tendulkar got the first boundary of the day when he pulled a short delivery from Martin through square leg, in the 97th over. Soon, Laxman also bagged a boundary when he lashed at a wide delivery for a four through the point region in Martin's next over.
Jeetan Patel was once again attacked by the Indian batsmen. Tendulkar played the slog sweep over midwicket for a boundary, the first after eight overs, to take India to 366 for three in 107 overs.
Laxman also looked to break the shackles against Patel as he repeated the same shot for another four, in the 109th over. The Kiwi off-spinner continued to suffer as Tendulkar guided a wide delivery past the point region for a four.
At the other end, Vettori continued to toil unchanged and was successful in keeping the two batsmen under check from his end.
Patel finally provided the breakthrough for New Zealand with the big wicket of Tendulkar. The right-hander danced down the wicket but chipped one straight back to the bowler to be dismissed for a patient knock of 40 from 133 balls, inclusive of five boundaries.
Suresh Raina struggled to get going before trying to force Kane Williamson through the off-side and was caught in the covers for three.
In the very next over, Laxman was trapped leg before wicket by Patel for 40 from 105 balls.
India lost three wickets for nine runs in the space of 34 deliveries and went into the lunch break at 392 for six in 120.2 overs.
Though Patel grabbed the vital wickets, it was Vettori who played a crucial role in New Zealand's revival. He bowled 14 overs in the session giving away just 13 runs with seven maiden overs in the process.
India also have themselves to blame by letting the pressure build with some cautious batting as they scored just 63 runs in 30.2 overs in the morning session.
Post lunch session: (31.3 overs, 95 runs, 4 wickets)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was keen not to let the spinners dominate. The India captain charged down the wicket and lofted Patel back over his head for a six and take his team past the 400-run mark in the 123rd over.
Kiwi skipper Vettori's perseverance finally paid off when he claimed the wicket of his Indian counterpart. Dhoni was caught off an inside edge by the forward short leg fielder for 10 as India were reduced to 410 for seven in the 124th over.
India continued to slip as Vettori broke through Zaheer's defences to bowl him for one for his third wicket of the innings.
Harbhajan Singh decided to take charge as he stepped down the wicket and lofted Patel into the stands over midwicket for a six. The next ball was also despatched through the same area, but it went along the ground for a boundary.
Harbhajan (23) got a reprieve when he charged down the wicket to Vettori and was beaten in the flight but luckily for him he got a thin inside edge that beat the wicketkeeper and went to the fine leg boundary.
Vettori was outstanding with the ball as he completed 50 overs of toil, taking three for 97 and inclusive of 12 maidens. But he was not done as he continued to operate non-stop from one end.
Harbhajan seemed to have found the measure of the pitch as he creamed a full delivery from Vettori through covers for a boundary to move to 38. In the spinner's next over, Harbhajan gave himself room and lifted Vettori over mid-off for a boundary followed by a six down the ground off the very next delivery.
Harbhajan completed a deserved fifty, his eighth in Tests, off 58 balls with a double on the leg side in the 141st over. In the same over, he slog swept Williamson over midwicket for his third six of the innings and send the crowd into wild celebrations.
Finally, Patel broke the partnership when he trapped Pragyan Ojha leg before wicket for a patient innings of 11 from 59 balls, having added 66 runs in 18.4 for the ninth wicket with Harbhajan.
There was no stopping Harbhajan who drove Ryder down the ground for a boundary to move to 67, his highest score in Test cricket.
He was the final wicket to fall when he was caught behind off Vettori in the final over of the session after a wonderful knock of 69 from 97 balls.
India were bowled out for 487 in 151.5 overs, having made 158 runs in 61.5 overs on the second day, as the middle order and lower order struggled on the slow pitch.
Vettori led from the front with the ball with excellent figures of four for 118 in 54.5 overs, while Patel also staged a good comeback as he claimed three for 135 in 29 overs.
Post tea session: (69 runs, 28 overs, 2 wickets)
Brendon McCullum, promoted to open the innings, looked to adopt a positive approach like Sehwag did for India.
He hit S Sreesanth for two fours in the second over, through square leg and the thirdman region respectively to make his intentions clear.
Zaheer gave India the first breakthrough when he got the wicket of opener Tim McIntosh for a duck. The left-hander tried to duck under a short delivery outside the off-stump but it didn't rise as high as expected and came in slightly to take the edge to wicketkeeper Dhoni.
Bradley-John Watling got off the mark in style when he hit Sreesanth through the point region for a boundary, in the fourth over.
McCullum was keen not to let the pacers settle down as he slammed Zaheer for a couple of boundaries on both sides of the wicket to take the score to 21 for one after five overs.
With Sreesanth struggling to make an impact with the new ball, India wasted no time in bringing spin in the form of Pragyan Ojha as early as the eighth over.
The move worked as Ojha struck in his second over with the wicket of Watling, who was beaten by one that straightened a bit to bowl him for six.
Ross Taylor struggled to get going before he got his first boundary as he pulled a short delivery from Sreesanth in the 15th over.
After a brief quiet spell, McCullum decided to break the shackles as he jumped down the wicket to Ojha and lifted him down the ground for a four. The left-arm spinner dropped it short and was pulled for another four a few deliveries later by the Kiwi opener, in the 19th over.
Harbhajan started with two maiden overs before he was cut for a four through point by Taylor to take the total to 51 for two in 21 overs.
McCullum on 27 got a reprieve when his edge off Ojha flew wide of a diving Dravid at first slip, in the 21st over.
New Zealand successfully managed to negotiate the last few overs before stumps to end the day on 69 for two in 28 overs with Brendon McCullum not out on 38 from 75 balls and Ross Taylor on 18 from 61 balls.
Zaheer tested the batsmen with his pace and used the short ball to good efffect to claim one for 14 in seven overs, while Ojha also kept it tight for one for 15 in ten overs.