Trent Boult had New Zealand in firm control of the second Test after a ball-dominated day two in which Virat Kohli again fell cheaply and India clung to a 97-run lead with only four wickets remaining in Christchurch on Sunday.
Sixteen wickets fell for 262 runs as India dismissed New Zealand for 235, to take a seven-run lead, and were then 90 for six at stumps with the Test destined to finish inside three days.
Boult had the remarkable figures of three for 12 off nine overs.
The tourists would rue their ongoing problem with removing tailenders when New Zealand's last three wickets were able to put on 82, led by a polished 49 from Kyle Jamieson.
India, needing to build a substantial total for New Zealand to chase on an easing wicket, then went off script from the start with Mayank Agarwal out for three in the second over.
Prithvi Shaw followed for 14 when a bouncer from Tim Southee had him completely off balance and a one-handed wave of the bat popped the ball to Tom Latham at second slip.
At two for 26, and India needing to win to square the series, the opportunity was ripe for a captain's knock from Kohli.
But on 14, a full delivery from Colin de Grandhomme cut back into his pads and he was gone.
The 31-year-old who came to New Zealand as the world's top-ranked batsman returned scores of 2-19-3-14 in his four Test innings.
Adding to India's woes, Ajinkya Rahane was bowled for nine, Cheteshwar Pujara went for 24 and Umesh Yadav (one) in the last six overs of the day.
After New Zealand resumed the day at 63 without loss the combined efforts of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja saw them slump to 153 for seven, before Jamieson, in his second Test, underscored his all-rounder credentials after taking five wickets in India's first innings.
Jamieson also took four wickets and smashed a quickfire 44 on debut in the first innings of the first Test.
Colin de Grandhomme with 26 and Neil Wagner (21) were the other key contributors in the late run spree with Wagner's dismissal the result of an exceptional one-handed catch by a leaping Jadeja at square leg.
The Indian pace bowlers, who struggled in the first Test and at the start of the second, opened up on Sunday having finally come to grips with the stock New Zealand conditions of a green-tinged pitch and a moderate breeze.
They found that anything pitched up and close to the off stump would put pressure on the New Zealand batsmen and quickly picked off the top five before lunch.
Tom Blundell, added one to his overnight 29 before he was removed and Kane Williamson (three), Ross Taylor (15), Henry Nicholls (14) quickly followed.
Tom Latham, who top scored with 52, was bowled when he miscalculated a Shami delivery and did not play a shot only to watch the ball angle into the stumps.
Shami finished with figures of four for 81, Bumrah, who removed New Zealand talisman Williamson, took three for 52 while Jadeja had two for 22.