New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is gradually recovering from the viral illness which kept him out of the second test.

Williamson cut a gaunt figure in the team hotel yesterday but was in good spirits as he prepared to literally "get back on the bike" at a gym session.

He is yet to return to the nets in preparation for the third test at Indore.

Regardless, his recovery is welcome news for a team preparing to respond after losing the series to India with a 178-run defeat in Kolkata.

The 26-year-old has played 13 of his 53 tests in Asia to average 47.82, compared with his career mean of 51.05. That drops to 38.72 from six tests in India where he scored a century on debut in Ahmedabad in 2010.

"He's making good progress, certainly better than a few days ago, and hopefully he can continue to improve," coach Mike Hesson said.

Stand-in captain Ross Taylor, who with Williamson has formed the finest 3-4 combination in New Zealand's cricketing history, urged for the No.3's return to deal with an Indore pitch expected to spin more than Eden Gardens.

"It's been good to see him walking about. I'm sure he'll be a bit lethargic over the next couple of days [because] it's still pretty tiring losing a few kilos and being stuck inside.

"But there are positive signs he'll be ready for the next match, and it will obviously be good for the team to have our skipper back.

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"Anytime with your skipper and best player out is disappointing but there have been times when Kane hasn't played one-day internationals and this probably isn't going to be the last time.

"The team has to step up. We can't rely on Kane all the time."

Taylor suggested his own form had been disappointing. After scoring an 364 unbeaten runs from three innings against Zimbabwe in July and August, he has made 60 runs at an average of 10 against South Africa and India.

"You have standards and want to score in every game. I felt good in the first innings [at Kolkata where he made 36] and my feet were moving. It was the same [in the second innings where he made four] but I missed one. I have to work hard and trust my experience to get through the first 20-30 balls and things will get easier."

"The key for us is first innings runs," Hesson said of their 204-run effort in Kolkata.

"When you do that you can create pressure and we struggled to do that... losing three [late wickets] on the second night was a key."

The team had a day off yesterday with a few choosing to sample the Kolkata culture by visiting a local mall.