Ajit Agarkar's maiden Ranji Trophy century rescued Mumbai from a precarious position and enabled them set Himachal Pradesh a target of 252 runs on the third day of the Super League Group A match in Mumbai on Thursday.
Agarkar, who has a Test hundred at Lord's to his credit, came to the crease when Mumbai were struggling at 135-4, an overall lead of just 51 runs, and the key wickets of Rohit Sharma (19) and Abhishek Nayar (0) lost in an over.
But, in scoring an unbeaten 102 not out, he added 58 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Wasim Jaffer, 44 for the sixth wicket with Vinayak Samant (12), and an undefeated 91 for the eighth wicket with Iqbal Abdulla, as Mumbai declared their second innings on 335-7, having been dismissed for a paltry 162 in the first.
Opener Ajinkya Rahane (50), Jaffer (54) and Abdulla (52 not out) also made noteworthy contributions for the hosts.
Left-arm spinner Mukesh Sharma ended up with figures of 4-95 after bowling an astounding 40 overs in the absence of off-spinner Sarandeep Singh, who was removed from the attack after being called for chucking for a second time.
First innings hero Vikramjeet Malik bagged two wickets to end up with match figures of 8-94.
In reply, Himachal were 4-0 after one over, needing 248 runs more on a wearing fourth day pitch.
Earlier, beginning the day at 76-0, Mumbai lost the wicket of Sahil Kukreja, who failed to add to his overnight score of 35, bowled by Vikramjeet with the addition of just two runs on the board.
Fellow-opener Rahane played patiently to reach his half-century before he was trapped in front by Vikramjeet.
Rohit hung around for a while but was snapped by Mukesh, who also dismissed Nayar in the same over thanks to a superb catch by Vinit Indulkar.
Mukesh also had Jaffer, who looked set to amends for his first innings failure, caught at silly point.
Abdulla, who came to the crease after the quick dismissals of Samant and Harmeet Singh, gave Agarkar good company, playing a vital unbeaten knock of 52 (84b, 4x7).
Chawla's 65 earns UP first innings lead
Ghaziabad: Piyush Chawla's brisk half-century and some gritty batting by the Uttar Pradesh lower order helped hosts Uttar Pradesh take a slender but crucial four-run first innings lead over Baroda in the Ranji Trophy Super League group A match on Thursday.
Resuming at 36 for no loss, in reply to Baroda's 234, Uttar Pradesh's top order crumbled, as Munaf Patel wreaked havoc with an early three-wicket burst.
Chawla (65) and Amir Khan (25) rescued Uttar Pradesh from a precarious 110 for six and added 83 runs for the seventh wicket to steady the ship. Later, useful cameos from Suresh Raina (30), Praveen Gupta (32) and Bhuvneswar Kumar (29) ensured UP posted 240 in 76 overs before being all out.
Baroda were 60 for three at stumps with Connor Williams (21) and Rakesh Solanki (13) in the middle.
Early in the day, Irfan Pathan dismissed Tanmay Srivastava (14) with the second ball of his first over to provide Baroda a perfect start.
Patel then sent back Shivkant Shukla (24), skipper Mohammed Kaif (0) and in-form Parvinder Singh (0).
They had hardly settled down with a 41-run stand between Raina and Bhuvneswar when both fell in quick succession and from there on Chawla and Amir took on the responsibility to save the day for their team.
Three tons puts Karnataka on top
Mysore: Centuries by K B Pawan (134), Amit Verma (157) and C M Gautam (batting 108) put Karnataka in the driver's seat on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Super league tie against Bengal.
Chasing Bengal's 324 and resuming at their overnight 186 for two, Karnataka put up a mammoth 523 for nine to take a sizeable 199-run lead from where they can hope to bowl out their opponents for a possible outright win.
The hosts have already gathered eight points from two matches.
Karnataka's fortunes could be attributed to the patient and diligent knocks of Pawan, who spent four-and-a-half hours at the crease while raising 249 runs (452 balls) for the third wicket with Verma.
Pawan was snaffled behind the wicket by Wriddhiman Saha off Ranadeb Bose.
Bengal heaved a sigh of relief when they dismissed the dangerous Manish Pandey, Verma and B Akhil in quick succession, but found resilient customers in Gautam and Joshi. The seventh-wicket duo mixed caution with aggression to produce 116 invaluable runs, slowly but assuredly putting their side in command.
Gautam batted for 195 minutes and struck 14 four when stumps were drawn for the day.
Sourasish Lahiri was the most successful bowler for Bengal, returning figures of five for 157.
Tamil Nadu sniff victory against Punjab
Amritsar: Tamil Nadu were on course of a comprehensive win against Punjab after a brilliant all-round show on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Super League Group A match.
Tamil Nadu skipper Dinesh Karthik led from front with a brilliant 117, which helped his side take a huge 293-run first innings lead, as they declared at 521 for nine after resuming at 340 for six.
They then had the hosts on the mat, reducing them to 114 for five, still 179 runs behind.
R Aushik Niwas (3/41) and R Ashwin (2/54) shared the five wickets that fell in Punjab's second innings.
Pankaj Dharmani (15) and Gaurav Gambhir (4) were at the crease for Punjab, who will need an extraordinary effort to save the match.
Openers Ravi Inder Singh (11) and Vishwas Bhalla (12) were Aushik's victims.
Ashwin then snared Uday Kaul (16) and Chandan Madan (15) to leave Punjab tottering at 65 for four.
Ankur Kakkar (33 off 35) and Dharmani steadied the ship, raising a 39-run stand but the former too fell at the fag end.
Earlier, Karthik batted beautifully with support from the lower order. His 117 came off 165 balls, inclusive of 13 boundaries. He found able allies in C Ganapathy (44) and R Aswhin (22) and took team his beyond the score of 500.
Rohan Bhosale hits defiant 82 against Saurashtra
Rajkot: Reeling under Saurashtra's massive first innings total of 544 for 3 declared, Maharashtra rode on Rohan Bhosale's gritty 82 to crawl to 266 for seven on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match.
Resuming at the overnight score of 53 for 1, at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket ground, Sangram Atitkar did not trouble Saurashtra's bowlers much and was shown the pavilion at his individual score of six by Sandip Maniar.
Kedar Jadhav and Ankit Bawane also got out cheaply, while R Motwani resisted the hosts' attack for a brief while before getting out at 27 off 100 balls.
Bhosale, however, anchored the innings with a defiant 82 from 210 balls, studded with 13 fours, before being dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja.
Azhar Ansari (26), who added useful 70 runs with Ganesh Gaikwad (45 runs, 97b, 5x4) for the seventh wicket, was at the crease with Kiran Adhav (7) when stumps were drawn for the day.
For Saurashtra, left-arm leg spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Rakesh Dhruve bagged two wickets each, while Sandeep Jobanputra and Sandip Maniar chipped in with a wicket each.
Wet outfield forces suspension of play
Bhubaneswar: Persistent rain played spoilsport as play on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Super League match between Orissa and Railways was called off without a single ball being bowled.
Umpires A K Chowdhury and R Shankar, after five inspections, ruled out the possibility of play for the day.
Overnight showers had left patches of water on the outfield.
On Wednesday, incessant rain had stopped the proceedings in the post-lunch session, when Railways were 297 for eight, with Krishnakant Upadhyay and Mahesh Rawat batting on 45 and 33 respectively.
If both the teams fail to complete their first innings, they will get a point each out of the drawn match.