Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara guided India to 64/2 at stumps on day five of the World Test Championship (WTC) final on Tuesday.
India, which leads by 32 runs, lost openers, Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Rohit was pinned lbw playing no stroke towards the fag end of the day. Tim Southee got both the wickets.
Earlier, New Zealand was all out for 249, grabbing a 32-run first-innings lead against India.
Skipper Kane Williamson compiled a patient 49, while Tim Southee (30) and Kyle Jamieson (21) played cameos to push New Zealand past India’s first innings total of 217.
Mohammed Shami led India’s fightback with the ball claiming 4-76.
The one-off contest has already lost two full days to rain on England’s south coast, diminishing hopes of a result.
Wednesday has been allocated as a reserve day to make up for the lost time.
There was a delayed start to the fifth day’s play as well, and once New Zealand resumed on 101-2, India clawed back in the contest after Virat Kohli effected three inspired bowling changes.
Shami dismissed Ross Taylor for 11 and clean bowled BJ Watling, who made one, to wreck New Zealand’s middle order.
The seamer returned after the lunch break to account for Colin de Grandhomme and Jamieson.
Williamson hit Shami for a boundary to put New Zealand ahead but fell agonisingly short of what could have been only the second fifty in the low-scoring match.
Ishant Sharma ended the New Zealand skipper’s five-hour vigil, inducing him into poking at a delivery, and Kohli grabbed the edge standing wide at the second slip.