India's top three failed to make significant scores at Holkar Stadium, but Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane left New Zealand in a miserable position.
Virat Kohli compiled a fine century and shared an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 167 with Ajinkya Rahane to ensure India ended day one of the third Test with New Zealand firmly in command.
Already 2-0 up and assured of a series victory, India again won the toss on Saturday and were able to capitalise despite initially finding life tricky as Indore's Holkar Stadium played host to a Test for the first time.
Murali Vijay and the recalled Gautam Gambhir departed during the morning session and the home side were 100-3 when Mitchell Santner bowled Cheteshwar Pujara for 41 with a wonderful delivery that highlighted the early turn on offer for the spinners.
However, that was to be as good as things got for the Black Caps as Kohli and Rahane gradually grew in stature as the remainder of the day progressed and guided India to an imposing score of 267-3 by stumps.
Skipper Kohli (103 not out) became the first man to make a hundred in the series, ending a personal run of seven Test innings without a fifty, while Rahane (79 not out) will also be looking to reach three figures on Sunday after overcoming a period of discomfort against the short ball at the start of his innings.
Gambhir and Umesh Yadav replaced the injured Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in India's line-up, while New Zealand were able to recall fit-again skipper Kane Williamson and Jimmy Neesham.
In his first Test outing since August 2014, Gambhir began positively, pulling Matt Henry for successive sixes in the fourth over of the match.
Yet New Zealand claimed an early breakthrough in the next over, Jeetan Patel's first, as Vijay (10) fell victim to a reflex catch at short-leg from Tom Latham.
Gambhir's comeback innings came to an end on 29 when Trent Boult trapped the veteran lbw and there was further success for New Zealand early in the afternoon when Santner found turn and bounce to uproot Pujara's off stump.
As the tourists looked to build on the latter breakthrough, Rahane made an uncertain start. The 28-year-old twice survived appeals for catches behind the wicket when the ball had hit armguard rather than glove, either side of seeing a top-edged pull off Boult narrowly evade a diving Henry in the deep.
Rahane was able to survive, though, and both he and the typically classy Kohli were able to seize control as the threat from New Zealand faded.
A mighty six over long-on off Patel took Rahane past 50 and Kohli was able to bring up his 13th Test hundred prior to the close, courtesy of a sharp single.