R Ashwin came to the party yet again, his five-wicket haul wresting back control for India, if only marginally, after Tim Southee's seven-for had given New Zealand the first innings advantage.
India failed to capitalise in the morning session of the third day of the second Test at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore, with the Kiwis bowling out the hosts for 353; Southee the pick of the bowlers with a first-innings haul of seven for 64.
However, the Indian bowlers came roaring back, consigning New Zealand to 232 for nine, and an overall lead of 244, with Jeetan Patel and Trent Boult still batting at the end of the day's play. Six New Zealand batsmen crossed the 20-run mark, but none of them could kick on and make a big score.
In another day of attritional Test cricket, it was the disciplined and patient bowling of the Indians that saw them sneak ahead, with Ashwin accounting for five Kiwi batsmen. Umesh Yadav took out the openers, with the other two wickets falling to Pragyan Ojha.
New Zealand failed to capitalize on the good work from their bowlers, particularly Southee, with the top four batsmen falling before Tea.
Martin Guptill was the first batsman to go, bowled by Umesh Yadav after inside edging a full toss onto the stumps for seven. Brendon McCullum, who received a reprieve from umpire Steve Davis of Zaheer Khan's bowling, when the right-hander looked nailed on for lbw in just the third over, soon followed his opening partner to the pavilion for 23. Yadav finding a faint edge after tempting McCullum to poke outside his off-stump with a nice pitched up delivery, with Dhoni making no mistake with the catch.
The 34-run third-wicket partnership between Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor was broken by Ashwin, who found the outside edge of Williamson in his first over, which was comfortably grabbed by Virender Sehwag at first slip. A big score, similar to the one in the first innings, was again needed from Taylor, but the Kiwi captain succumbed to Pragyan Ojha, falling for 35 after getting caught in front of the wicket, while attempting a sweep, for the second-straight time.
Daniel Flynn (31) then went soon after tea, caught at slip off Ashwin's bowling. James Franklin and Kruger van Wyk hung around for a little while, their sixth wicket partnership 55 giving the Kiwis some hope of posting a competitive target for the Indians. However, once Ashwin trapped Van Wyk, who made 31, lbw, the Kiwis lost another three wickets for just 27 runs; Franklin, the top scorer for the visitors in the second innings, with 41 runs.
In the morning, Dhoni and Kohli could not continue their partnership, as both batsmen fell soon after reaching their respective landmarks. Kohli completed his hundred in the third over of the day, flicking Trent Boult for a boundary to reach the magical landmark for the second time in his career. However, the talented right-hander fell to Southee for a score of 103, courtesy a massive misjudgement. Kohli decided to shoulder arms to an in-swinger from Southee, leaving the umpire with no choice but to give him out. A couple of fours from Dhoni (62) followed the wicket of Kohli, with the captain also falling to Southee from another delivery that darted in.
Southee picked up his sixth and seventh wickets of the innings in his next over, accounting for Zaheer Khan and Ojha, with India still trailing by 45 runs as the score read 320 for nine.
Ashwin, who is making a name for himself as quite a handy lower-order batsman, stuck around with No 11 Yadav for a 33-run partnership, which pushed the hosts closer the Kiwis' total of 365, eventually folding up for 353, after Boult dismissed Yadav for four, with Ashwin not out on 32.
With the pitch still not causing any alarming problems, New Zealand will be hoping for a few more runs tomorrow morning to try and push the target to as close to the 300-run mark as possible. India, on the other hand, will be keen to pick up the final wicket quickly and get on with the job of making the runs and completing a 2-0 sweep of the series; the form of the two openers - Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir - will be crucial if India are to achieve the target without too much hassle.