Shreyas Iyer made his Test debut for India and Rachin Ravindra for New Zealand.
Kyle Jamieson pitched the ball in right areas to strike thrice as New Zealand pegged India back, restricting them to 154 for four at tea on the first day of the opening Test after skipper Ajinkya Rahane and his deputy Cheteshwar Pujara failed to convert their starts.
Jamieson (3/38), who picked up Mayank Agarwal in the opening session, removed a well-set Shubman Gill (52 off 93 balls) and Rahane (35 off 63 balls) in the afternoon, using the variable bounce to good effect.
Cheteshwar Pujara (26 off 88 balls) was done in by a beauty from Tim Southee that reversed in and then shaped away to reach Tom Blundell gloves.
Funnily, on a track that kept low and slow and didn’t offer much turn, New Zealand spinners Ajaz Patel (0/56 in 15 overs) and Will Somerville (0/28 in 13 overs) were disappointing.
But Rahane would be gutted as he hit six lovely boundaries before dragging one in as he expected the ball to bounce more considering Jamieson’s height.
Before that Gill, who hit a sublime fifty, had a big gap between bat and pad which helped Jamieson’s incutter breach his defence.
Debutant Shreyas Iyer (17 batting) looked confident in that brief period before tea.
Comeback man Gill settled down nicely after initial nervous moments to remain unbeaten on 52 as India looked good during that first session that fetched 82 runs.
Gill, who missed out on the England Test series due to a shin injury, played some delightful shots all round the wicket to reach his fourth Test half-century but more importantly has put the New Zealand spinners on back-foot.
His fellow opening partner Mayank Agarwal (13 off 28 balls) wasted a God given opportunity when he nicked one from Jamieson that moved a shade from length to be caught by Blundell.
Pujara was playing his own game but that didn’t affect India as Gill, after seeing off Tim Southee’s first spell, was severe on left-arm spinner Pateldisturbing his length with both cuts and drives.
The duo added 61 runs for the second wicket after India captain Ajinkya Rahane rightly decided to make first use of a Green Park track, where the ball has started keeping low with very little pace off the pitch.
Gill had in fact successfully appealed for a DRS when Southee had an on-field leg-before appeal reversed.
But once Patel came into the attack, one saw a different Gill in action. Anything short was either square-cut or back-cut and whenever the Mumbai-born spinner tried to toss one up, Gill would swiftly come to the pitch of the delivery to drive him off length.
Gill’s attacking batting did have an effect on off-spinner William Somerville, who set a defensive field putting a deep square leg and long-on with an eye on stopping the boundaries.
India first innings 154/4 in 56 overs (Shubman Gill 52, Ajinkya Rahane 35; Kyle Jamieson 3/38).