Khan double has New Zealand reeling
India's Zaheer Khan appeals for an LBW call on New Zealand's Hamish Rutherford during their Test match in Wellington on February 15, 2014 - by Marty Melville
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, with support from BJ Watling and assisted by a lifeless track, was making a valiant effort to stave off the seemingly inevitable.
But India were only one wicket away from exposing a brittle New Zealand tail, and with more than two days remaining and no sign of rain they seemed assured of levelling the series after losing the first Test by 40 runs.
McCullum was not out 44 at tea after being dropped on nine by Virat Kohli at silly mid-on and on 36 by Ishant Sharma who spilled a caught and bowled chance.
Watling, on 24, went to the crease after Corey Anderson (two) fell cheaply after lunch when he popped a return catch to Ravindra Jadeja.
Despite the pitch having dried out into a fairly lifeless track, the New Zealand batsmen offered little resistance to the India attack in the first session of the day.
Kane Williamson, who scored a century in the first Test, gave Zaheer Khan his first wicket of the morning when an attempted cover drive was edged to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Donhi and he was out for seven.
New Zealand were then 27-2 which slipped to 52-3 when the same Khan-Dhoni partnership removed Hamish Rutherford for 35.
Debutant Tom Latham had looked assured despite a duck in the first innings, cracking two sweetly timed boundaries, as well as a third off a top-edge, on his way to 29.
But in the last over before lunch, a lapse of concentration saw the 21-year-old prod at a delivery well outside the off stump and he nicked the ball through to Dhoni.
For India, Khan has been the most successful bowler with 3-34 while Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja have a wicket each.