Auckland: Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum made half centuries in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership that lifted New Zealand to 179-3 at tea Thursday on the first day of the first cricket test against India.
Williamson was 79 not out and unbeaten on McCullum 71 at the end of the second session after combining to revive New Zealand, which had been 30-3 in the 18th over.
India was still in charge at 54-3 at lunch, but Williamson and McCullum swung the first day in New Zealand's favor by adding 125 in the 27 overs in the middle session.
Williamson made the best of a reprieve shortly after lunch when he was dropped at slip with New Zealand at 76-1. He now a century and five half centuries in his last seven innings.
Earlier, India took full advantage of an influential toss to reduce New Zealand to 54-3 at lunch Thursday on the first day of the first cricket test.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won his sixth-straight toss in New Zealand - he won all five in the one-day international series - and called correctly for the 10th in his last 11 matches to give the Indian bowlers first use of a remarkably green pitch at Eden Park.
Dhoni's New Zealand opposite, Brendon McCullum, had called the toss "important" - an exercise in Kiwi understatement as the drop-in pitch prepared for the match had a thick grass covering which promised considerable assistance to fast bowlers.
McCullum had cause to reflect ruefully on the toss when he found himself, at No. 5, batting before lunch.
McCullum and Kane Williamson managed to steady the New Zealand before lunch. Williamson was 22 not out and McCullum 5 not out at the end of a shortened session, trimmed by 15 minutes because of drizzle which delayed the toss.
The Indian bowlers caused New Zealand's some discomfort but took almost 10 overs and a bowling change to effect their first breakthrough.
Ishant Sharma joined the attack in the 10th over and, with his fifth ball, removed Hamish Rutherford for 6 when New Zealand was on 19. Sharma had been the only contentious inclusion in the Indian lineup for the match after he showed little form in the one-day series and had to win his place at the expense of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Sharma came up trumps by taking two wickets -- his 150th and 151st in tests -- to give India complete command of the first session. By lunch Sharma had taken 2-8 from six overs.
Rutherford was brilliantly caught in the gully by Ajinkya Rahane, diving full-length to his left. Fello0w opener, Peter Fulton, survived two early scares before he fell lbw to Zaheer Khan in the 13th over, to leave New Zealand 23-2.
Fulton was dropped by Shikhar Dhawan from Zaheer's bowling in the second over and survived a confident appeal for lbw from Mohammed Shami in the ninth. India had cause to regret its refusal to allow use of the Decision Review System as replays showed the ball, which took Fulton on the back pad, likely to hit two thirds of the way up middle stump.
The second lbw appeal against Fulton was equally plum and New Zealand lost its second wicket within three overs
Sharma then claimed the wicket of the New Zealand danger man Ross Taylor. Taylor scored centuries in all three of New Zealand's tests against the West Indies in December and maintained that hot form with two more centuries during the India one-day series.
But he had made only 3 when he drove too impulsively at a ball from Sharma and provided a catch to Ravindra Jadeja at short mid-off.