Ishant Sharma's lion-hearted bowling performance met Kane Williamson's elegance when New Zealand ended a grueling second day of the opening test against India with a light hand on Saturday.
After another lower-order collapse, bundling India for 165, Ishant, who had returned straight from an ankle injury, picked up three for 31 in 15 overs, although Williamson effortlessly scored 89 for New Zealand's 216 end-of-day score of 5.
New Zealand is now leading with 51 races.
Mohammed Shami (1/61 in 17 overs) removed Williamson during his last time of the day, who could not check an upward move. Henry Nicholls' fight (17 of 62 balls) seemed to have hampered Williamson's rhythm.
During the last hour, Ravichandran Ashwin (1/60 in 21 overs), who could bowl all day long, freed Nicholls from his agony with a delivery that had drift and a twist when the Indian skipper Virat Kohli den low catch snapped at the second slip.
Williamson looked good when he hit some adorable blows straight from the wicket. The Square Drive on the rise of Jasprit Bumrah (0/62 in 18.1 overs), followed by a Cover Drive, showed its class.
In total, the New Zealand skipper hit 11 limits with 153 balls.
Bumrah in particular was punished by Williamson, who also cut him back for a border, and Taylor then punished another half volley through the roof.
There were some loose supplies from the Indian pacemakers and in between some hit the bat. With the “pool” baked in the sunshine, hitting became much easier and black caps took the initiative.
Bumrah in particular could not consistently find its length. Either he bowled too full and mobile deliveries, or too short for Rishabh Pant to assemble when the ball went a few feet over his head.
This is where Ishant came into play. While he was lucky enough to get opener Tom Latham out on a leg stump with a delivery, the other opener Tom Blundell (30) had written a typical Ishant dismissal on it.
The ball on the off-stump channel was full and jagged enough to find the gap between the racket and pad.
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Williamson and Taylor then had a partnership of 93 runs, in which New Zealand also took the lead before Ishant returned for his third spell, playing a good-length bowling that proved to be an easy catch for Cheteshwar Pujara in the short game.
When Nicholls came in, Williamson, who was fluent, suddenly had a player on the other end who only scored 4 out of 34 balls.
Williamson looked good for his 22nd test hundred and could not check cover drive in his quest to reach another limit. The low catch was taken over by substitute field player Ravindra Jadeja.
New Zealand debutant Kyle Jamieson and veteran Tim Southee had previously taken four gates each when Indian innings were folded in 68.1 overs.
Jamieson (4/49 in 16 overs) and Southee (4/49 in 20.1 overs) took four of the five gates that fell the second morning, with India adding only 43 runs to its overnight score of 122 for 5.
Rishabh Pant (19) started with a six, but then a terrible mistake with senior partner Ajinkya Rahane (46) caused a slip and the low chance of recovery was finally gone.
It was a bad call from the older player and Pant had to sacrifice his wicket.
Ashwin then received a beauty from Southee that was quite similar to that of Prithvi Shaw, while Rahane edged one inside while trying to leave her alone.
With India at 132 for 7, Rahane knew that he was running out of time when he played a square drive in front of Trent Boult to give him a border.
Southee then got rid of Rahane when he tried to shoulder a delivery that made a late move inward. The entertaining 21 by Mohammed Shami allowed visitors to cross the 150 run mark.