peghamINDORE: Indian skipper Virat Kohli helped India stay firm against a persistent New Zealand bowling attack as the hosts were 148 for three at tea on the first day of the third and final Test in Indore on Saturday.

Kohli on 45 and Ajinkya Rahane on 19 have put together a 48-run partnership after the hosts, who elected to bat first, were reduced to 100 for three.

Kohli, who is looking to overcome a rare slump in form after managing just 81 runs in his previous four innings, has shown patience during his 102-ball stay.

The hosts lost their only wicket in the afternoon session — Cheteshwar Pujara — after the batsman was bowled off a beauty by left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner for 41.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who returned to lead the side after missing the second Test with a viral infection, juggled his bowling options but Kohli and Rahane held fort.

India lost both its openers in the morning session with returning Gautam Gambhir (29) letting go of a good start at Indore´s Holkar Stadium, which is hosting its first-ever Test match.

Pace spearhead Trent Boult cut short Gambhir´s breezy knock, which was studded with three fours and two sixes, after trapping the left-handed batsman lbw on an incoming delivery.

Top-ranked India lead the three-match series 2-0 after pocketing the rubber in Kolkata on Monday.