Describing Virat Kohli as a "world-class player", New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry on Friday admitted that his side had to be patient enough to dismiss the Indian prolific batsman early in his innings in the second Test at Eden Gardens.
The Indian Test skipper, who has had a run of poor scores since his 200 in Antigua, fell prey to Trent Boult's shrewd delivery before reaching double digits (9).
Kohli was peppered with a barrage of bouncers by Neil Wagner on a pitch offering seam movement and variable bounce but the batsman displayed patience by either fending or ducking those menacing deliveries.
With the batsman on 4 off 22 balls, Kohli eased off the increasing pressure with a delightful boundary off the first ball he faced from Trent Boult. However, his patience had waned quickly as he went for a delivery pitched wide outside off, which was successfully taken by Tom Latham at gully.
"He is obviously a world-class player and you have to very patient with those kind of guys. Every bowler has an individual plan of how they will skin the cat. The way Boulty (Trent Boult) bowled to him was fantastic and he eventually got the result," Henry said while assessing his side's performance on the opening day.
Electing to bat first in their 250th home Test, the hosts struggled against a persistent New Zealand bowling attack on a green-tinged pitch as they lost three wickets quickly in the morning session.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan, who was chosen ahead of recalled Gautam Gambhir, and Murali Vijay were dismissed by Henry cheaply for 1 and 9, respectively.
In-form Cheteshwar Pujara and reliable Ajinkya Rahane then steadied the ship as the duo stitched a 141-run stand for the fourth wicket.
In the final session of play, Wagner dismissed Pujara for 87 before off-spinner Jeetan Patel removed Rohit Sharma (2) and Rahane (77) in quick succession to lift the mood in the Kiwi camp.
Ravichandran Ashwin (26) then tried to increase the tempo, scoring some dazzling boundaries before Henry finished the day on a high by trapping the former lbw in the 84th over.
Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (14) and Ravindra Jadeja (0) will resume India's innings on day two.
Beaten comprehensively in the first Test in Kanpur, New Zealand's bid to level the three-match series suffered a major blow when captain Kane Williamson was ruled out with illness with Ross Taylor taking over the mantle of captaincy.
Reflecting on his side's current position, Henry said: "We have a great batting line-up and obviously it is a shame not to have Kane (Williamson) there. It is going to be a tough day with the heat and things like that. We just have to keep playing the long game and apply it as best we can. I'm not a batter but we are in a good position and it is going to be an important day tomorrow."