West Zone took command of the Duleep Trophy final after scoring 459 in the first innings and then reducing South Zone to 106 for 4 by stumps on the second day of the five-day match at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium in Chennai on Friday.
Skipper Subramaniam Badrinath, who was unbeaten on 54 at stumps, holds the key to South's fortunes. Keeping him company at stumps was Dinesh Karthik on 5
Earlier, West, resuming at the overnight score of 303-5, were dismissed for 459 in 141.4 overs. Ajinkya Rahane, who was unbeaten on 109 at stumps on Day 1, top-scored with 165 runs.
Bhavik Thaker (73) and Kedar Jadhav (47) made useful contributions in the latter part of West's innings to swell the total handsomely.
S Sreesanth (3-108) and Ravichandran Ashwin (3-134) were South's most successful bowlers.
In reply, Robin Uthappa and Murali Vijay gave South a good start but soon found themselves in trouble with introduction of spin in the form of left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar and off-spinner Ramesh Powar.
Pawar scalped Vijay, the batsman edging one to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel and then Uthappa failed to read a delivery and was bowled Powar as he stepped out to hit him
Worse was in store for South as Rahul Dravid was caught at gully by Kedar Jadhav off Pawar's bowling for 5.
Badrinath, who scored 200 in the semi-final against North, however, batted watchfully to keep South's hopes alive.
West Zone (1st innings):
P Patel lbw b Ashwin 27
W Jaffer b Jakati 69
A Rahane lbw b Ashwin 165
C Pujara lbw b Ashwin 14
B Thaker c Dravid b Sreesanth 73
A Nayar c Karthik b Sreesanth 0
S Trivedi lbw b Jakati 23
K Jadhav c Karthik b Suresh 47
R Pawar c Dravid b Sreesanth 18
R Powar run out (sub [PR Prem]) 12
D Kulkarni not out 0
Extras: (b 4, w 1, nb 6) 11
Total: (all out; 141.4 overs; 563 mins) 459 (3.24 runs per over)
Fall of wickets: 1-55, 2-132, 3-163, 4-297, 5-303, 6-360, 7-397, 8-424, 9-455, 10-459.
Bowling: S Sreesanth 26.2-5-108-3 (5nb, 1w); Vinay Kumar 6.4-1-20-0 (1nb), R Ashwin 48-9-134-3; M Suresh 24.4-5-94-1; S Jakati 29-6-83-2, S Badrinath 3-0-8-0; R Uthappa 4-1-8-0.
South Zone (1st innings):
R Uthappa b Powar 32
M Vijay c Patel b Pawar 10
S Badrinath not out 54
R Dravid c Jadhav b Pawar 5
M Suresh run out (Pawar/Powar) 0
K Karthik not out 5
Total: (for 4 wickets; 38 overs) 106
To bat: R Ashwin, AS Yadav, R Vinay Kumar, SB Jakati, S Sreesanth
Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-71, 3-92, 4-94.
Bowling: D Kulkarni 9-3-23-0; S Trivedi 10-1-22-0; R Pawar 10-4-36-2; R Powar 9-1-25-1.