New Zealand will start day two of their opening test against India reasonably happy with the state of the game in Kanpur.

After all, they pulled back a potentially awkward situation to restrict India to 291 for nine. At 154 for one, India were poised to streak out of sight. New Zealand's bowlers stuck to their job in the second and third sessions and got a solid reward.

The first session had produced one for 105 off 31 overs; but the second (80 for three) and especially the third (106 for five) went New Zealand's way.

The problem is, batting isn't about to get any easier. The turn was already there on the first day; New Zealand must bat last in this test and it won't be a picnic, even by day three.

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One key point, however, was made by India's sound opener Murali Vijay, who top scored with a patient 65 yesterday.

"The pitch is on the slower side, and it's going to be lower as well, so it's going to be difficult for scoring shots," he said.

"If they (New Zealand) play an attacking game it's going to be good for us."

Vijay rated India's 291 "a good score, maybe 20 runs short but if Jadu (not out batsman Ravi Jadeja) gets it going, maybe 320-330 would be a very good score".

So it might come in a few days to be seen as a better total than it would in other conditions.

New Zealand's bowlers deserve credit for sticking to their task.

Having chosen three specialist spinners - remarkably one more than the hosts - they really needed to be bowling last.

That's not going to happen but left arm spinner Mitchell Santner did a quality job for his captain, especially in the first two sessions, and offspinner Mark Craig got better as the day wore on.

Swing man Trent Boult, after an ordinary first couple of session, leapt into life late on to rip out the tail while Neil Wagner got the key wicket of Indian captain Virat Kohli with a bouncer.

"After losing the toss I think we're in a reasonably good position," Santner said.

"It was pretty flat to start with, a pretty good batting surface and they did bat well. We were lucky to get a few wickets at the end there to pull it back. We have to get this last wicket and then try and build some partnerships with the bat and go from there."

Now it's the New Zealand batsmens' turn. They should have watched carefully how Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara went about their business yesterday.

Their 112-run second wicket stand was easily the best of the Indian batting.

They were severe when the spinners dropped the ball short. It sat up nicely and begged to be hit. Equally, over-pitched deliveries went back down the ground.

But the quick-footed pair played from a measured base. There were lessons to be absorbed for the batsmen about how to go about their game.

Match centre with scorecard, wagon wheel and Manhattan/Worm