New Zealand 128 for 7 (Bhunvneshwar 5-33) trail India 316 (Pujara 87, Rahane 77, Saha 54*, Henry 3-46) by 188 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In recent times, India's fast bowlers have been limited to making token appearances at home. If there is swing in the air, they are kept on. If not, bring on the spinners and smother the opposition. Sometimes, even in helpful conditions, India's quicks aren't accurate enough and simply to stem the runs they are taken off. In Kolkata, on a pitch offering variable bounce, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar yanking the game India's way with a five-wicket haul.
New Zealand would feel aggrieved they went to stumps at 128 for 7 because they lost three of their wickets - including captain Ross Taylor's - when conditions were at their worst. There had been an hour and half's break due to rain. It was very overcast when play resumed. The light had faded and the ball, apart from swinging and seaming, was keeping quite low. Essentially, a red carpet for Bhuvneshwar.
Play resumed at 4 pm. There was one cursory over of spin before the quicks came back. Mohammed Shami got one to trampoline from back of a length. It beat the edge. Taylor flashed a wry smile. Bhuvneshwar made one hold its line. It took the edge. Taylor flashed a wry smile and was walking back. Mitchell Santner was trapped lbw by a short one that crept through. Next ball, Bhuvneshwar hit Matt Henry's off stump to complete his second five-for in three Tests and his first one at home.
It helped that India had 316 on the board, when New Zealand's innings began in the morning session. Shami trapped Tom Latham in front with an inswinger from around the wicket. Bhuvneshwar had the luckless Martin Guptill bowled off his elbow; it was the seventh successive time in Test cricket he had been dismissed by one of the two new-ball bowlers.
Bhuvneshwar then dismissed Henry Nicholls with a ball that should have been left alone. For once, the mistakes were being committed by the batsman and India's quicks were so disciplined that they delayed the arrival of spin to the 15th over. You had to go back almost a decade to see the last instance of spin coming on at a later time when India have played at home - against South Africa in 2007-08.
Jadeja had Luke Ronchi plumb in front in his second over of the day, but umpire Rod Tucker disagreed. Soon enough, though, the batsman came forward to a ball on middle stump, looking for the ball to spin away. It didn't. This time Tucker upheld Jadeja's raucous appeal, though HawkEye seemed to suggest it may have been sliding down.
If India's bowling was unrelenting, their batting was purposeful. Wriddhiman Saha chose a fine occasion to hit his maiden half-century in India. His team was playing its 250th Test at home - at his home ground in fact - and was looking for a total above 300. Saha knew he had to be careful at the start. There was the new-ball factor, and New Zealand had come back on the second day refreshed. Soon though, he had to hit out as India lost their eighth and ninth wickets with the addition of a mere nine runs. A lofted cover drive of the highest order - never mind that it went for six - brought him his fifty and thrust India over 300. Eventually, he was unbeaten on 54.
The day had begun with a bouncer. Saha responded with a cover driven four next ball. Later, the hard new ball, pitched short by Trent Boult, barely whistled over the off stump. For the rest of that over, the 91st, Ravindra Jadeja had to contend with balls flying past his ears. Saha was hit on the elbow and the rib cage. Jadeja smacked the third ball of spin for six over deep midwicket. Just as their partnership was becoming dangerously big considering it was for the eighth wicket, Neil Wagner broke through.
Some say the health of Test cricket is dire; that Twenty20 has swindled the fan base because anything can happen. In Kolkata, two good teams and a pitch that was helping the bowlers proved it isn't hard to replicate that excitement no matter the format. Besides, you get a nice, fat five days of it. More to love.
It was compelling stuff, really. New Zealand were bowling to a plan. Jadeja and Saha were determined not to let them succeed. They added 41 runs in 74 balls, and a measure of how well they assessed conditions and stood up to them was that there were only three boundaries this morning in the partnership.
India have often used one partnership, one mistake from the opposition, even a change in the wind to get on a roll at home. To prevent that Ross Taylor asked Wagner to go around the stumps, posted a short leg and a leg gully. Jadeja knew what was coming, but couldn't help himself. He was cramped by the line. He couldn't get on top of the bounce. The short ball - though it was telegraphed - was top-edged to Henry at long leg.
Mitchell Santner trapped Bhuvneshwar plumb in front in the 100th over but umpire Tucker misread it. So Santner did his best to recreate the same play the very next ball and the finger went up. This time, though, HawkEye seemed to indicate it wouldn't have hit the stumps. Shami came out and got three fours away, but when he pulled Boult in the air to long leg, Henry raced to his right and pulled off a stunning catch to end the innings.