Responsible batting by young Tamil Nadu all-rounder Baba Aparajith and talented Karnataka batsmen Manish Pandey to guide South Zone to 213 for three at stumps on the day one of the Duleep Trophy quarter-final match against West Zone in Chennai, on Thursday.
Only 54 overs of play was possible on the opening day because of inclement weather.
It was an unbroken partnership of 161 between Aparajith (93 not out), who is just seven short of his second first-class century and Pandey (81 not out) that took South to safety after they were struggling on 52 for three in 16 overs.
Akshath Reddy (18), who was in fine form during the NKP Salve Challenger Series was trapped leg before by left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat while pacer Murtuza Vahora got one to skid through and rattle Abhinav Mukund's (4) leg stump.
Young Lokesh Rahul (6) was trapped leg before wicket by off-spinner Yusuf Pathan as South's top order struggled with the bat.
Aparajith and Pandey took a stock of the situation and then counter-attacked the opposition bowlers to step up the run-rate. They faced 38 overs on the day and were scoring at a run-rate in excess of 4.6 per over.
Aparajith faced 131 deliveries to hit 11 boundaries in the process while Pandey had eight fours and a six in his 118-ball knock.
Both attacked the left-arm spin duo of Akashay Darekar (0/50 in 11 overs) and Rakesh Dhurv (0/54 in 11 overs).
South Zone 1st Innings: 213/3 in 54 overs (Baba Aparajith 93 not out, Manish Pandey 81 not out, Murtuza Vahora 1/20, Yusuf Pathan 1/36, Jaydev Unadkat 1/36).
Image: Manish Pandey