S Badrinath stood tall amid ruins before West Zone bundled out South for 199 and stretched their overall lead to 492 runs after day three of the Duleep Trophy final in Chennai on Saturday.
Having managed a 260-run first innings lead, the dominant West Zone, gunning for their 17th Duleep Trophy title, ended day three at 232 for four in their second innings with Abhishek Nayar (9) and Kedar Jadhav (4) at the crease.
For West, Ajinkya Rahane, who had slammed 165 in the first innings, fell just two runs short of his second century of the match, while Parthiv Patel contributed 64 before cramps forced him to retire hurt.
Earlier resuming on 106 for four, South Zone lost wickets at regular intervals as their batsmen lacked the application and the will to grind it out.
With the West spin duo of Ramesh Powar (3/47) and Rajesh Pawar (3/73) running through the middle and lower order, Badrinath (100 not out) could only watch in exasperation as his partners kept changing.
His unbeaten 163-ball 100 included 10 fours and three sixes.
In all, seven South Zone batsmen, including former Indian captain, Rahul Dravid failed to get into their double digits.
West Zone lost their captain Wasim Jaffer (15) to Sreesanth in the ninth over but Parthiv Patel and Ajinkya Rahane soon imposed them on the South Zone bowlers and scored at a brisk rate.
Patel's progress, however, was halted as the left-hander developed cramps and had to retire hurt.
Cheteshwar Pujara (14) could not make the most of yet another opportunity to impress the selectors while Bhavik Thaker (22) got the start but could not convert it, falling to Sreesanth.
Rahane was in a punishing mood on Saturday as the Mumbaikar blasted his way into 90s before falling to Badrinath.
Rahane had stepped out to hit Badrinath for a huge six in the previous delivery and this time the ball came onto his pads.
Rahane tried to glance it but managed a faint nick and stumper Dinesh Karthik took a well-judged catch to send him back. Rahane's 110-ball 98 was studded with 10 fours and four sixes.