The first cricket test against India is New Zealand's to win after another dream day for captain Brendon McCullum in his garden of Eden.
The tourists went to stumps on day two when bad light stopped play on 130-4 in reply to New Zealand's first innings of 503 which included an epic 224 from McCullum, his second test double century.
After pace duo Trent Boult and Tim Southee reduced India to 10-3 in reply, including the prized scalps of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, the tourists recovered via Rohit Sharma who was unbeaten on 67 at the close.
Ajinkya Rahane will resume with him tomorrow on 23 with another 174 needed to avoid the follow-on.
Bad light forced players off at 5.35pm with 17 overs left to be bowled.
The forecast is for largely fine weather in the next three days and New Zealand are at short odds to go 1-0 up in the two-test series.
On a heavily overcast Auckland afternoon, Boult and Southee rocked the Indian top order as they stared down a huge first-innings deficit.
Left-armer Boult struck twice in a remarkable first over which left him with figures of 1-0-2-2. He squared up left-hander Shikhar Dhawan who edged to Kane Williamson at gully, then claimed run machine Pujara third ball.
Pujara arrived with an impressive average of 66.25 from 17 tests and looked likely to be the toughest Indian batsman to dislodge. But he played an uncharacteristically loose waft at a wide offering from Boult and edged to a jubilant gloveman, BJ Watling.
Kohli (4) was the other big scalp for New Zealand. He faced just 13 balls before a controversial dismissal against Southee.
The right-armer fired in a cracking bouncer which flew to Peter Fulton's hands at second slip, via Kohli's helmet. The batsman looked mortified at umpire Richard Kettleborough's decision and pointed to his helmet, but replays showed the ball touched the thumb of his glove.
Sharma batted responsibly, hitting eight fours and a six in his unbeaten knock which showed his top order how it was done.
Neil Wagner kept the tourists on the back foot when he knocked over opener Murali Vijay with a gem from around the wicket, and Rahane had a life when Boult looked to have trapped him in front for two. Umpire Steve Davis disagreed but replays showed it was hitting the top of middle. The decision review system isn't being used as India refuse to agree to it in bilateral series.
Earlier, McCullum fell one run short of his highest score as he hit a record test innings by a New Zealand batsman at Eden Park.
He was last out to a juggling boundary catch by Ravindra Jadeja as he struck the equal-ninth highest test knock by a New Zealander.
The innings was a triumph in concentration and control for McCullum, who offered no clear chances and batted 462 minutes, faced 307 balls and hit 29 fours and five sixes.
The final wicket gave Ishant Sharma figures of 6-134 off 33.4 overs, his fourth five-wicket bag in test cricket.
McCullum was one short of his highest test score, 225 against India at Hyderabad in 2010 when he played as an opener.
McCullum passed Ian Smith's New Zealand record test innings at Eden Park of 173, against India in 1990, and joined Walter Hammond, Daryll Cullinan, Javed Miandad, Keith Fletcher and Gordon Greenidge as test double centurions at the ground.
New Zealand plundered 144 off 24 overs for the loss of three wickets in the opening two-hour session.
McCullum and Corey Anderson added 133 for the fifth wicket as all India's bowlers copped some punishment on a pitch offering some bounce but little seam movement.
Anderson was unlucky to be dismissed for 77, lbw to Sharma. Davis adjudged Anderson lbw to Sharma bowling around the wicket and angling the ball across. Replays showed it was too high and would have missed leg stump if the DRS was in use.
Day two of the first test at Eden Park, Auckland
First innings (329-4 overnight)
P Fulton lbw b Zaheer 13
H Rutherford c Rahane b I Sharma 6
K Williamson c Dhoni b Zaheer 113
R Taylor c Jadeja b I Sharma 3
B McCullum c Jadeja b I Sharma 224
C Anderson lbw b I Sharma 77
B Watling c Dhawan b I Sharma 1
T Southee b Shami 28
I Sodhi c R Sharma b I Sharma 23
N Wagner c Kohli b Jadeja 0
T Boult not out 1
Extras (b 1, lb 5, wd 5, nb 3) 14
Total (121.4 overs) 503
Fall: 19, 23, 30, 251, 384, 398, 434, 490, 495, 503.
Bowling: M Shami 28-6-95-1 (2w), Zaheer Khan 30-2-132-2 (1w), I Sharma 33.4-4-134-6 (2w, 3nb), R Jadeja 26-1-120-1, V Kohli 1-0-4-0, R Sharma 3-0-12-0.
S Dhawan c Williamson b Boult 0
M Vijay b Wagner 26
C Pujara c Watling b Boult 1
V Kohli c Fulton b Southee 4
R Sharma not out 67
A Rahane not out 23
Extras (b 5, lb 1, nb 3) 9
Total (for 4 wickets, 39 overs) 130
Fall: 1, 3, 10, 51.
Bowling: T Boult 10-1-20-2 (2nb), T Southee 12-3-27-1, C Anderson 2-0-9-0, N Wagner 7-0-46-1 (1nb), I Sodhi 6-0-13-0, K Williamson 2-0-9-0.
AT A GLANCE
Brendon McCullum's innings of 224 against India (462 minutes, 307 balls, 29 fours, five sixes):
- Ninth-equal highest New Zealand individual test innings.
- McCullum's second-highest test score, behind his 225 against India in Hyderabad in 2010.
- McCullum became the fourth multiple New Zealand test double-centurion, after Stephen Fleming (3), Glenn Turner (2) and Mathew Sinclair (2).
- Sixth test double-century at Eden Park and fourth-highest innings behind England's Walter Hammond (336no in 1933), South Africa's Daryll Cullinan (275no in 1999), and Pakistan's Javed Miandad (271 in 1989).
- Highest New Zealand test innings at Eden Park, beating Ian Smith's 173 against India in 1990.
- © Fairfax NZ News