Trent Boult's lower-order runs and three vital wickets catapulted New Zealand into a commanding position against India on day three of the first Test.
The left-arm swing bowler clubbed 38 from 24 balls to help the Black Caps post 348 following valuable contributions from Colin de Grandhomme (43) and Kyle Jamieson (44) at Basin Reserve on Sunday.
India, who managed a paltry 165 in the first innings, trailed by 183 runs when Ishant Sharma (5-68) ended Boult's cameo and their headaches grew before the close of play.
Boult removed Prithvi Shaw (14), Cheteshwar Pujara (11) and Virat Kohli (19), while Tim Southee strangled Mayank Agarwal down the leg side for 58 as the tourists battled to 144-4, still 39 runs behind.
That will be the end of Day 3 here in Wellington
Rahane & Vihari fighting hard after Mayank Agarwal's half century. Join us for Day 4 tomorrow #TeamIndia #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/jocMvIzEyk — BCCI (@BCCI) February 23, 2020
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India had looked set for a brighter day in Wellington after Jasprit Bumrah extracted an edge from BJ Watling with the first ball of the opening over, after New Zealand had resumed on 216-5.
Southee lasted 14 deliveries before falling to Ishant, which brought debutant Jamieson to the crease.
The towering quick, who claimed four wickets in India's innings, proved there is more than one string to his bow as he hammered four sixes in an entertaining 45-ball knock.
Jamieson and the more measured De Grandhomme combined for 71 runs before departing within five overs of each other, Ravichandran Ashwin (3-99) striking on both occasions.
Number 11 Boult blasted the Black Caps further ahead and then made inroads into India's top order, his short ball drawing Shaw into an edge behind in the eighth over of India's second dig.
Pujara crawled to 11 runs until his concentration failed on the final ball of the second session - his 81st at the crease - with the batsman made to pay for shouldering arms to a full Boult delivery that seamed in and plucked out the off stump.
Kohli's advice prompted opener Agarwal to waste a review on a thin edge off Southee before the India captain gave wicketkeeper Watling his second catch and Boult his third wicket.
Dropping the anchor allowed Ajinkya Rahane (25) and Hanuma Vihari (15) to reach the close unbeaten but New Zealand appear well-placed to take a 1-0 series lead with two days remaining.