"India are not out of the game. Ashwin and Jadeja can run amok tomorrow. There is purchase in the wicket. India have their hopes high from the spinners. They must stop big partnerships to keep New Zealand in check tomorrow," Gavaskar told NDTV on Thursday after the first day's play at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium.
India took off well after opting to bat, but following the dismissals of opener Murali Vijay (65) and Cheteshwar Pujara (62), the home team's batting line-up wavered. India went on to lose eight wickets in the second and third sessions to end Day 1 at 291 for 9.
Turning point for New Zealand
"The dismissals of Rohit Sharma (35), Pujara and Lokesh Rahul (32) were unfortunate. Pujara's exit gave New Zealand a foot in the door. It's still a decent score by India," the 67-year-old former skipper said.
Many Indian batsmen got starts but they failed to convert them into big ones. "Indian batsmen must learn to get the big hundreds," said Gavaskar.
The legendary opener also had a word of praise for the New Zealanders.
"New Zealand were outstanding with their bowling and fielding. When India started well, they did not lose heart in the heat. We can expect a good series," said Gavaskar.
"It was a good call by New Zealand to play three spinners. Ish Sodhi can win you a match with three-four wickets."
Black Caps spinners Mitchell Santner, Sodhi and Mark Craig took a total of five wickets with left-arm orthodox bowler Santner picking up three.