India took the first session on a hazy morning in Kanpur, New Zealand took the second and then just as we were poised for an enthralling final session, Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja took over to put the hosts clearly ahead.

At close of play, India were on 258/4. A solid recovery when one takes into account that they were reduced to 145/4 at one point. Shreyas Iyer (75*) and Ravindra Jadeja (50*) were at the crease when the umpires called stumps.

For New Zealand, the standout bowler was Kyle Jamieson, who finished the day with bowling figures of 15.2-6-47-3.

Morning session

Watch: Sunil Gavaskar presents the India cap to Shreyas Iyer as he makes Test debut against NZ

With New Zealand choosing to go in with three spinners (one of them a batting allrounder) and two seamers, it was important for the Indian openers to play out the new ball. Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson got some swing to start the day and Mayank Agarwal seemed to approach playing them with a fair degree of tentativeness.

Gill looked better but both openers looked like players who were making a comeback into the playing XI. Southee started off alright but it was Jamieson who was the more impressive bowler. He got more swing and his height added some natural variation to his deliveries on a pitch that clearly had low bounce.

The introduction of Ajaz Patel into the attack after six overs seemed to almost get an instant reward for the Kiwis but they missed a trick by not asking for a review. Gill came down the wicket to the spinner but played down the wrong line and missed the ball with the bat close to his pads. Perhaps because he had used his feet or maybe it was close to bat-pad, Williamson didn’t review but replays showed that the ball would have crashed into the top of middle.

But maybe the rub of the green that went Gill’s way came back to bite Agarwal. The right-hander edged Jamieson though to the keeper as India were reduced to 21/1 after 7.5 overs.

That though was the only wicket New Zealand got in the morning session. Pujara played solidly and with spin coming on from both ends, Gill seemed to grow in confidence. He started playing his shots and reached his fifty off 81 balls.

In the session: 29 overs, 82 runs, 1 wicket.

Post-lunch session

The lunch break worked for NZ. The batters needed to get their eye in again and before they could, Jamieson struck.

For Gill, an old problem resurfaced – the gap between the bat and the pad. He likes to stay leg-side and that means his front foot doesn’t move as much as it should. The Kiwi pacer got it to seam back into the right-hander and that is all that was needed.

The inside edge went onto the stumps and all the good work of the morning session was undone. It was a dismissal eerily to similar to the one James Anderson effected against the batter earlier this year.

Gill’s 52 will give him some confidence but even he would have known he could have done better.

Gill dismissal. Screenshot / Hotstar

And then after a few quiet overs, Southee struck. Pujara (26), as he has of late, poked at a delivery outside the off-stump and edged it through to the keeper. If the first session belonged to India, NZ very quickly evened it up early in the second session.

10 overs in the post-lunch session and NZ had done very well – 27 runs conceded and 2 wickets claimed. But then, Rahane and Iyer, Test cap No 303 for India, seemed to settle into a nice rhythm. Some crisp shots played and things seemed to get easier when Southee (in his 11th over) walked off the field in the middle of his over.

However, Rahane failed to make that advantage count. He first survived being given out caught down the leg-side thanks to a review but then chopped one back onto the stumps to reduce India to 145/4. The ball stayed a little lower than expected but for a batter on 35, he should perhaps have not being playing with the angled bat.

Jamieson, at this point, was at a brilliant 34/3 from his 12 overs.

It didn’t look like a great pitch to bat on given the variable bounce but India needed to bat well in their first essay and that is where they were let down by their senior batters.

In the session: 27 overs, 72 runs, 3 wickets

Post-tea session

In first-class cricket, Iyer has an SR of 81.54. He likes to score quickly once he is set. And he took his time getting set in the second session. The right-hander started off with an extravagant ill-advised lofted shot that fell in no man’s land, but then settled in to make 17 off 55 at tea.

But one hour into the final session, he had reached 54 off 102 balls. A half-century on debut. The scoring rate was upped and it was done intelligently. He attacked Rachin Ravindra, the spin allrounder, while playing the others with a fair degree of caution.

By close of play, he had cruised to 75 off 136 balls. He was never in any sort of rush during his innings and he seemed to look even more assured in the middle as his unbroken partnership of 113 runs with Ravindra Jadeja progressed.

Jadeja, himself, never looked in any trouble. By the time the left-hander came in to bat, India were in some strife at 145/4 but he backed himself and batted as proper batters do; well, he evidently is one these days. He ended the day on 50 off 136 balls.

New Zealand’s bowlers took a fair degree of stick in the final session as India pushed their run-rate to 3.71. The baller got softer and there wasn’t much on offer for the spinners. With the ball still hard when play resumes on Friday, more quick runs could be on the cards as India look to bat once and bat big.

In the session: 28 overs, 104 runs, 0 wickets