By Amlan Chakraborty
KANPUR, India (Reuters) - India stood three wickets away from a comprehensive victory against New Zealand after pace bowler Mohammed Shami's two-wicket burst reduced the tourists to 205 for seven at lunch on the final day of the first test on Monday.
Mitchell Santer, however, refused to throw in the towel and was unbeaten on 57 at the break with spin partner Ish Sodhi (two) at the other end.
The tourists need 229 runs more to chase down the 434-run victory target.
After the final day's play began under an overcast sky, overnight batsmen Luke Ronchi and Santner continued their dogged resistance against the Indian spinners on a day five track at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium.
Home skipper Virat Kohli predictably began with spin from both ends but the batsmen mixed caution with aggression to defy their hosts for 20 overs.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja finally made the breakthrough when he induced Ronchi into an ill-timed slog against the turn and Ashwin pouched the skier at point.
It was a tame end to Ronchi's 102-run partnership with Santner, a defiant battle spread over 36 overs that proved the local spinners were not unplayable.
Ronchi hit nine boundaries and a six before his rush of blood ended on 80.
In a match dominated by the spinners, Shami then displayed his reverse swing mastery and got one to jag back into BJ Watling's pad before uprooting Mark Craig's middle stump with another swinging delivery.
Craig will now return home to recover from a side strain. He was replaced in the squad by Jeetan Patel.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)