An unbeaten 86 from Ross Taylor has helped the Blackcaps to 203/5 on a rain-shortened opening day of the first test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.
After winning the toss, the Blackcaps opted to bat first and made a steady start, before Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya spun a web around the Kiwi batsmen, which left them struggling at 71/3 at lunch.
But Taylor came to the rescue, compiling a 100-run partnership with Henry Nicholls (42) to help the touring side to safety, when rain forced early stumps.
Mitchell Santner was the other unbeaten batsman at the crease on eight, when play was brought to a halt.
Both sides selected three spinners for the Galle pitch and the 25-year-old Dananjaya, who has previously been suspended from bowling in international cricket for an illegal bowling action, made a quick impact.
After New Zealand won the toss and chose to bat, openers Tom Latham (30) and Jeet Raval (33) put on 64 runs, before Dananjaya struck twice in the space of four deliveries.
Dananjaya removed Latham and then captain Kane Williamson, who was dismissed without scoring.
Dananjaya then induced an edge from Raval to dismiss the other opener at the stroke of the lunch break to reduce New Zealand to 71/3.
Taylor, a veteran of 93 tests, staged a fightback for the Blackcaps, along with Nicholls, before Dananjaya dismissed the latter.
BJ Watling soon joined him in the dressing room to hand off-spinner Dananjaya his fourth five-wicket haul in tests.
The two-test series, with the second match set for Colombo, is the first for both teams in the newly launched world test championship, which features the top nine test-playing nations competing in a league across two years.