Having backed themselves into a dark corner, New Zealand's batsmen needed to emerge swinging.
Not with recklessness, but some purpose and defiance. And they did, with varying effectiveness against India at Bangalore's M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
It added up to a respectable 328-6 as the tourists ended day one of the second cricket test in improved health from their Hyderabad horrors.
The captain, Ross Taylor, basked comfortably in the spotlight which shone on his struggling team, bludgeoning his seventh test century off 99 balls.
When he departed for 113, his Central Districts team-mates, Kruger van Wyk and Doug Bracewell, steadied the ship when it threatened to list.
The pair added an unbroken 82 for the seventh wicket before bad light forced an early end, as the busy van Wyk swept and clubbed his way to a maiden half-century in his seventh test.
The day belonged to Taylor as he revealed the fighting streak required by all good leaders.
Hyderabad was his lowest ebb as test skipper as he missed twice with the bat and presided over a meek innings and 115-run defeat.
It began well as Taylor called correctly at the toss under leaden skies, and was true to his word about showing intent and scattering the field.
On a faster, truer batting surface, attack was the best method of defence against this confident Indian side, after New Zealand kept the same batting lineup but dropped Chris Martin for Tim Southee.
Hyderabad 12-wicket hero Ravi Ashwin (1-82) wasn't as terrifying while fellow spinner Pragyan Ojha (4-90) got the new ball and was a regular threat but far from unplayable.
There were early hiccups. Brendon McCullum lasted five deliveries and Kane Williamson was defeated by one from left-armer Ojha that skidded on.
Taylor strode out on the home ground of his former Indian Premier League team, where he'd peppered the boundaries for fun, and just carried on.
It revived memories of his best test innings, 154 not out against England at Old Trafford in 2008 when he made it look as easy as strolling to the corner store.
This was Taylor's only other test century abroad, and his third against India.
He rollicked along at a run-a-ball. The trademark mid-wicket slap, the booming aerial cover drive and some deft touches off the spinners covered the wagon wheel.
He cracked 50 off 45 balls and took 16 off an Ojha over. His New Zealand record test century, off 81 balls against Australia in 2010, loomed into view but the 90s were nervous.
A back cut off Ojha, soon after a run out scare with van Wyk, brought a broad grin, and a relieved hug with his wicketkeeper.
His first false shot, a sweep to Ojha after tea, ended a memorable knock too soon, after 127 balls, 16 fours and two sixes.
It could have been so much better from the others, too. Martin Guptill breezed to his 12th test half-century, then infuriatingly threw it away.
Daniel Flynn added 107 with his skipper then was dismissed sweeping for the third time in as many innings, before James Franklin hit a full toss to mid-wicket.
- Fairfax Media
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