Hamilton:New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori on Wednesday said momentum of the first Test was firmly in India's hand despite his record 186-run partnership with Jesse Ryder that gave some respectability to the hosts' innings.
Both scored centuries that helped New Zealand post 279 after they were reeling at 60 for six at one stage.
"We gained momentum through our partnership, but if you just look at the scores you would say India's on top," said Vettori, who made a fighting 118, his third Test century in 90 Tests.
The skipper was naturally disappointed with his batsmen who failed to come to terms with the pace attack of Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan in the opening session.
"We are obviously disappointed with the situation we put ourselves in. India made the most of the conditions. There was just enough in the wicket to suggest it was difficult. They swung the ball to make batting difficult," said Vettori about the Indian fast bowlers, who vindicated captain Mahendra singh Dhoni's decision to field first after winning the toss.
The bespectacled 30-year-old captain admitted that it was a bit difficult to bat early on.
"There were a couple of things that didn't quite go our way - Flynny's (Daniel Flynn) tough way of getting out and Frankie (James Franklin) as well. It was a tough morning session. Once that settled down and once the ball got a little bit older, it was easier to bat on," said Vettori.
The spinner also disclosed their first thoughts were to cross the 150-run mark.
"Our first thoughts were to get through to 150. Fortunately, Jesse and I batted for a long time and put a competitive score on the Board. A below par, but certainly a competitive score," said Vettori, who was dropped on 77 by Rahul Dravid at slip off Harbhajan Singh.
The skipper was full of praise for Ryder, who scored 102 and was the last man to depart.
"He started his Test career at three. But since the time he has slipped down to five, his form has been outstanding. Jesse has batted pretty well in Test cricket so far.
"He has found himself in a number of situations and scored runs. I suppose people look at him as a one-day opener and someone who whacks the ball. But they haven't quite seen the subtleties of his game.
"Today he had the ability to leave good balls and put away bad balls. That's what the great batsmen do. I can't think of a chance that went down and I can't think of too many that went past bat. It was just good batting in a difficult situation," he said.
Vettori, who plays for the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, said that once out in the middle, he and Ryder decided to play their natural game.
"The best Jesse and me did was play our natural games, without getting reckless with it. We are both aggressive players but if we had gone too hard at it, we would have got ourselves in trouble," said Vettori, who hit 14 boundaries and a couple of sixes in his 164-ball knock.
He, however, refused to criticise the Seddon Park track for the batting debacle.
"It did a bit this morning. But once it flattened out, it was really a good deck to bat on. The batters have nothing more to ask for than the smallish boundaries and the fast outfield."
He also hoped that the wicket would assist his fast bowlers during Thursday's morning session.
"We are hoping that the wicket does a bit again in the morning session tomorrow," Vettori said.
Ryder was pleased as punch having scored a maiden century in just his seventh Test. The burly left-hander, known primarily as a one-day opener, kept his nerves and steered New Zealand to relative safety.
"It is a good feeling. I have been close to it a couple of times before. Just to get there is a great feeling for me, personally," said the 24-year-old.
Ryder admitted that he became anxious with wickets falling in quick succession once Vettori departed and with the tailenders coming into the picture, thought he might not get to his hundred.
"When the tail came in I didn't want to throw it (the century) away and backed them to see me through. I was sweating bullets there for a minute. Lucky Martin got through those five balls and saw me through to it," he said about the second last over of their innings when last down batsman Martin survived five deliveries from Harbhajan with Ryder rooted to the other end.
Talking about the phase when Vettori overtook his personal score, Ryder said, "Daniel was batting really well and I just sat back and gave him the strike. It worked out perfectly. We kept each other motivated and helped each other to keep going throughout the day."
Ryder, who faced 162 balls and hit 14 boundaries, said he had kept his game plan simple.
"I kept it pretty simple today. I stuck to my gameplan and did what I know best."