New Zealand reached a score of 101/2 at stumps on Day 3 in response to India's first innings total of 217 runs. The start of the fourth day's play has been delayed by rain, with the weather forecast suggesting another washout.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Aakash Chopra observed that the match is on a knife's edge even though the scorecard might suggest that the Blackcaps have the ascendancy.
"In my opinion, this match is on an even keel and can turn in India's favor more quickly. I am still saying that New Zealand is definitely not ahead, although the scorecard is showing that they are just 116 runs behind with eight wickets in hand."
The cricketer-turned-commentator reasoned that New Zealand would need to take a lead of around 100 runs as they have to bat last. Aakash Chopra said:
"Because from here for them to be ahead in this match, they need to score 216 runs. If they score 150, they would not be ahead. And you can dismiss them for another 150 runs. You were 146/3 with two set batsmen and you scored just 217."
With conditions likely to be seamer-friendly once play begins, India can set the cat among the pigeons by striking a couple of early blows.
"The Indian batting is a lot better as compared to New Zealand" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra added that New Zealand might have the batting depth but lacks in quality compared to India.
"If you do a man-to-man marking, the Indian batting is a lot better as compared to New Zealand. They have the quantity, that there is Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling and Kyle Jamieson also bats but the quality is more important."
The 43-year-old signed off by stating that the Indian team's confidence in their abilities will stand them in good stead.
"If you can get out, you can dismiss the opposition team as well. You have the depth, you have two spinners. In my opinion, this team has the belief as well. The belief was seen on the eve of the match, that they are playing five bowlers. You played two spinners and the opposition team plays five fast bowlers. You play according to your strengths and that is why when you are standing here, you say you can do it. You have done it before and will do it again."
The Southampton pitch provided some assistance to the Indian spinners on Day 3, with R Ashwin causing a bit of trouble to the Kiwi batsmen.
If the weather holds good and India sets a competitive target for New Zealand in the fourth innings, the two spinners could wreak havoc.