New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum stubbornly provided a glimmer of hope for his side on the third day of the second Test against India as he battled to his ninth Test century to thwart the visitors' push for a series-levelling victory.
New Zealand first innings 192
India first innings 438
New Zealand second innings
P Fulton lbw b Khan 1
H Rutherford c Dhoni b Khan 35
K Williamson c Dhoni b Khan 7
T Latham c Dhoni b Shami 29
B McCullum not out 114
C Anderson c & b Jadeja 2
B Watling not out 52
Extras (b 2, lb 6, nb 4) 12
Total (5 wickets; 99 overs) 252
Fall of wickets 1-1, 2-27, 3-52, 4-87, 5-94
The 32-year-old was 114 not out at stumps having shared in an unbroken 158-run partnership with wicketkeeper BJ Watling (52) that guided the hosts to 252 for five, just six runs ahead of India.
"It was hard work out there," McCullum told Radio Sport. "I thought they bowled brilliantly and at five for 90 (odd), things weren't looking so good. Thankfully BJ and I put together a partnership which was undefeated at the end of the day."
Corey Anderson was the only wicket to fall during the final two sessions, having joined McCullum at the resumption of play following the lunch break after New Zealand had slumped to 87 for four in the final over of the morning session. Anderson had tried to work Ravindra Jadeja into the leg-side only to get a leading edge and it ballooned back to the left-arm spinner.
Anderson's dismissal reduced the hosts to 94 for five and in danger of not seeing out a sun-drenched day, before Watling and McCullum dropped anchors and took their side through two sessions to ensure they would be back for a fourth day.
The normally free-flowing McCullum faced 237 balls and had been batting for just under six hours while Watling was even more obdurate with his 52 coming from 208 deliveries. He had been at the crease for more than four hours.
"It's what the team required and as captain that's what you try and achieve," McCullum added. "You're not always going to do it, but you have to try and work your game to the situation.
"I was just pleased to get through to the end of the day with five down. We have got a lot more ground to cover tomorrow."
New Zealand had resumed the day on 24 for one, a deficit of 222 runs, and slumped further into the mire when Zaheer Khan grabbed two early wickets to put India firmly in charge of the match.
The 35-year-old left-armer had the ball move slightly away off the seam to catch the thinnest of outside edges of both Kane Williamson (seven) and Hamish Rutherford (35) to reduce the hosts to 52 for three inside the first hour.
Debutant Tom Latham was then dismissed by Mohammed Shami in the final over before lunch for 29, having avoided the dreaded pair in his first Test when he punched Zaheer through point for two runs.
India must win the match to level the two-test series after New Zealand won the first game at Eden Park by 40 runs.