Abhinav Mukund feasted on Uttar Pradesh's pedestrian attack and slammed his fourth century of the season as Tamil Nadu cruised to 296 for two wickets on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semi-final match in Nagpur on Sunday.
Dinesh Karthik's decision to bat first stood vindicated as Mukund (100) and Murali Vijay (69) added 167 runs for the opening stand before both fell in the span of seven overs.
S Badrinath (59) and Karthik (58) continued the good work and remained unbeaten at stumps, having added 114 runs for the third wicket stand.
India international Rudra Pratap Singh's absence due to a shoulder injury was thoroughly felt as UP's new ball colleagues Praveen Kumar and Bhuvneswar Kumar managed to contain but could not make any inroads in the Tamil Nadu line-up.
Once they got their eyes in, Mukund and Vijay, who featured in a 462-run stand against Maharashtra in the first match of the season, were in complete control of the proceedings as UP bowlers toiled without success.
Mukund has been in stellar form this season, averaging 84, and the left-hander continued his purple patch against UP's toothless attack.
Vijay was equally confident as he drove and cut with elan. The left-right combination went on to add 167 runs in 50-odd overs before medium pacer Parvinder Singh drew first blood when he had Vijay caught by Praveen Kumar in the 51st over.
Trying to step up, Vijay chased a wide delivery and Praveen neatly collected the top edge at mid-off. Vijay looked good for a century before he fell at 69, which came off 151 balls with eight sweetly timed boundaries in it.
Mukund, however, could not be denied the feat and the moment came when he flicked Bhuvneswar. The in-form batsman could not proceed further and edged a Bhuvneswar delivery to perish caught behind.
His 100 runs came off 175 balls with 16 hits to the fence.
UP bowlers, however, didn't get another occasion to celebrate as Badrinath and Karthik took charge.
Badrinath looked edgy early in his innings before he shrugged it off and looked his composed self.
The fidgety right-hander pulled Piyush Chawla for two boundaries before tea and after the break he stepped out to hit the leg-spinner for a massive six.
At the other end, Karthik was not silent either as he drove with a panache and hit 10 boundaries en route to his unbeaten 58 off 99 balls.
Badrinath's unbeaten 59 came off 121 balls with 10 fours and a six in it.
Tamil Nadu 1st innings:
Abhinav Mukund c Amir Khan b B Kumar 100
Murali Vijay c Praveen Kumar b Parvinder 69
S Badrinath not out 59
Dinesh Karthik not out 58
Extras (B-5, BL-1, W-4) 10
Total (For 2 wickets in 91 overs) 296
Fall of wickets: 1-167, 2-182.
Bowling: Praveen Kumar 24-4-70-0, Bhuvneswar Kumar 18-5-47-1, Imtiyaz Ahmed 12-1-48-0, Piyush Chawla 13-2-57-0, Praveen Gupta 11-3-47-0, Parvinder Singh 13-5-21-1.