Jeet Raval was left both disappointed and satisfied in equal measure after missing out on a century but helping New Zealand into a position of strength against South Africa on Monday.
On day three of the third and final Test in Hamilton, the Black Caps closed 321-4, seven ahead of the tourists, with captain Kane Williamson unbeaten on 148.
Williamson and Raval added 190 for the second wicket, the latter eventually falling for 88 as his quest for a maiden Test ton goes on.
Having made his debut against Pakistan in November, Raval has passed fifty five times in 12 innings but is yet to reach three figures.
"Disappointed not to kick on and get a big score, but it was nice to contribute towards a big partnership and move the game forward," Raval said, with the Black Caps looking to rescue a 1-1 draw from the series.
"It puts us in a good position leading into day four and hopefully we can build some good partnerships again, with a few more wickets to go, then put some early pressure on South Africa when they come out to bat.
"It's tough - it's not supposed to be easy. It's called Test cricket for a reason, it's mentally challenging and when you do well it's rewarding because you know you had to work hard for your wickets or your runs.
"It's a world-class bowling attack. You're made to work hard for every single run.
"It's tough ... it's mentally challenging, but at the same time it's rewarding as well. To bat for that long, to come out with that partnership but more importantly to put the team where we are is satisfying."