New Zealand boast a lead of 244 runs over India with one wicket remaining heading into the fourth day as the outcome of the second Test in Bangalore remains in the balance.
The tourists closed on 232 for nine in their second innings having earlier dismissed India for 353, with bowlers Tim Southee and R Ashwin doing much of the damage for their respective sides.
New Zealand paceman Southee finished with Test-best figures of seven for 64, including the wickets of overnight batsman Virat Kohli for 103 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni for 62, as India added 70 to their 283 for five. India spinner Ashwin then took five for 69 in the Black Caps' second innings as most of the tourists' batsmen made starts without any managing to get past 50.
Jeetan Patel (10 not out) and Trent Boult (nought not out) were the men at the crease at stumps after decent contributions from middle-order quintet Ross Taylor (35), Daniel Flynn (31), James Franklin (41), Kruger van Wyk (31) and Doug Bracewell (22).
Southee was almost unplayable in the morning, accounting for four of the five wickets to fall. Kohli completed his second Test hundred but was dismissed just three runs later, trapped lbw by Southee, while Dhoni went the same way soon after.
Zaheer Khan (seven) and Pragyan Ojha (nought) also did not last long, edging Southee's short deliveries to wicketkeeper Van Wyk, before Boult cleaned up last man Umesh Yadav (four) to hand New Zealand a 12-run lead with Ashwin finishing unbeaten on 32.
India edged ahead in the second session with four wickets, Yadav making his first breakthrough in the first over after lunch with an in-swinging full toss that Martin Guptill (seven) inside-edged onto his stumps. In his next over, Yadav got Brendon McCullum to edge a delivery to Dhoni behind the stumps before Taylor and Kane Williamson (17) struck a 38-run partnership.
Taylor was also involved in 42-run stand with Flynn before being the next man out, trapped lbw to Ojha while going for a sweep for the second time in the Test.
Flynn and Franklin were comfortable in the middle and looked to be taking the match away from India before the former cut Ashwin straight to Virender Sehwag at first slip.
While India had an opening to take control of the match, Franklin and Van Wyk were defiant and put on 55 runs to put their team in a strong position. But India struck late in the day, claiming the last three wickets for the addition of 27 runs to leave the Test on an even keel.