First they salvaged their own batting innings, then they crippled India's - New Zealand have their bowlers to thank for putting them on the verge of their 100th test victory.
Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson and Trent Boult provided a swashbuckling salvo with the bat, before Boult was the chief destroyer with the ball, as the Black Caps closed in on a historic victory against a fearsome foe.
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At stumps on day three at the Basin Reserve, India had scratched their way to 144-4, still trailing the Black Caps by 39 runs, and needing to produce an epic rearguard on day four to deny a milestone win.
Such third-innings turnarounds have been seen before at the Basin, but on the basis of India's batting – and New Zealand's bowling - display thus far, there's little to suggest it's likely, especially with India having few recongised batsmen left to call upon, and a limp tail order that usually provides remarkably little resistance.
You can't say the same about the Black Caps' tail, who stood up at a vital time, just as the hosts were at risk of wasting their hard work from the first two days. BJ Watling had uncharacteristically departed off the first ball of day three, playing a loose shot, while Tim Southee, also playing a loose shot, characteristically departed a short time later.
At 225-7, a lead of only 60, India had found their road back into the test, but the Black Caps tail order blocked it off. De Grandhomme played a sensible innings, with his 43 from 74 balls remarkably sedate for his standards, while Jamieson's debut got even better, supplementing his four first-innings wickets by smacking four sixes in his 44 off 45 balls.
The pair combined for the second biggest partnership of the innings – 71 runs – and once both departed to the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin, Boult had some fun, coming out and smacking 38 off 24 balls at No 11.
He contributed all the runs of the last-wicket stand with Ajaz Patel, and although Ishant Sharma eventually ended the flurry to finish with 5-68, Boult had seen the Black Caps through to 348 – and a vital lead of 183 runs, 123 of which had come from the last three wickets.
That was more than the Indian top order could produce, as the Black Caps picked up four wickets before India's star batsmen could even match the tail order's efforts, with three of them going to Boult.
"It's still nice to be ahead of the game. All in all, a very good day," said Boult, who was pleased with his batting contribution.
"I don't care how I get them, but very valuable runs I'd say to extend the lead - it's nice to contribute a little bit. We talk as a lower order and anything we can contribute is always handy. We do take pride in adding to the total and it was nice to get some today.
"It's turned into a very good wicket, if we can remain aggressive with the ball, look to be as intimidating as we can, we can get a couple more wickets."
This afternoon, only Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara made the bowlers toil, with a 51-run partnership after the early loss of opener Prithvi Shaw, but after grafting for 81 balls to make just 11, Pujara threw his wicket away on the final ball before tea, leaving a delivery from Boult and watching his off stump pinwheel.
Agarwal again showed some fight, but was caught down the legside for 58, and the big wicket came when Virat Kohli – who had already got away with two rash shots – attempted to hook Boult, but got an edge through to Watling, and was sent on his way for 19.
Ajinkya Rahane (25 not out) and Hanuma Vihari (15 not out) saw India through to stumps, but unless both batsmen produce big scores, it will be New Zealand bringing up their century instead.