Hamilton: It was indeed a remarkable comeback by Kiwis. At one stage New Zealand were tottering at 160 for six, captain Vettori (118) and Jesse Ryder came together at this stage and put on a record partnership of 186 runs for the seventh-wicket to lift Kiwis to respectable total of 279.
Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag survived seven overs to be 29 for nought at the close, trailing by 250 runs going into day two.
Indian pacers also came up with a brilliant display of pace bowling as Ishant notched up four wickets for his efforts. His counterparts Munaf Patel( 3 wickets) and Zaheer Khan ( 2 wickets) were also not far behind as they too got a bag full of wickets.
Centurion Jesse Ryder was the last Kiwi wicket to fall when he mistimed a hit to mid-on for VVS Laxman to take the catch off Ishant Sharma. Ryder got to his maiden Test century on the previous delivery with a four to the mid-wicket fence.
Ryder hit 14 fours in his magnificent knock of 102 runs and his dismissal came after Iain O'Brien was stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Harbhajan Singh.
Vettori's innings was a crucial one for his side but was not without its scares as the skipper was almost run out on the penultimate ball before tea and was then dropped by Rahul Dravid on 77.
He eventually brought up third Test century with a single after a streaky sweep shot, the 100 taking 139 balls and including 13 fours and two sixes.
His dismissal sparked the beginning of the end for the New Zealanders' first innings with Kyle Mills yorked the very next ball by Patel to leave the hosts 246 for eight.
In the morning session the Indian pace trio of Zaheer Khan, Ishatn Sharma and Munaf Patel breathed down the necks of the Kiwi batsmen with relentless bowling on and outside the off-stump line. The probing stuff from India"s seamers rattled New Zealand"s hopes of a fight back.
India captain MS Dhoni"s decision to bowl first paid rich dividends thanks to a fired up spell from spearhead Zaheer Khan who clipped the Kiwi wings in the first hour of play.
Earlier, India won the toss and elected to field first in the first Test match of the three-Test series against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday.