Faiz Fazal and Jalaj Saxena hit half-centuries to keep Central Zone in the contest after South Zone had taken the first innings lead of day three of Duleep Trophy final at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, on Friday.
At stumps, Central were 214 for four in 62 overs in their second innings, for a lead of 111 runs. Robin Bist was unbeaten on 26 and giving him company was Mahesh Rawat on 11.
Earlier, South were bowled out for 379 in their first innings with opener KL Rahul scoring a majestic 185, while Hanuma Vihari hit a fluent 75.
Openers Fazal (72) and Saxena (71) led Central's fightback as they put on 128 runs to give their team a slimmer of hope on a pitch offering some assistance to the spinners.
Jalaj, who hit 15 boundaries in his 119-ball knock was trapped leg before wicket by Pragyan Ojha, while Fazal top edged a pull off South captain R Vinay Kumar and was caught at deep square leg.
Naman Ojha (19) started off by digging out a yorker and then played some flowing drives, hitting five fours in his 27 before he was caught at second slip off leg spinner Shreyas Gopal, who also trapped Ashok Menaria leg before wicket for a duck.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Ali Murtuza (4-59) ran through the South lower order after Rahul and Vihari's stand of 126 runs for the fifth wicket had threatened to take the game away from them.
South lost their last six wickets for only 20 runs after being placed at a comfortable 359 for four at one stage.
Piyush Chawla bagged the key wicket of Rahul, who was bowled after his long vigil at the crease, during which he hit 19 fours and two sixes in 233 deliveries enroute to his highest score in first class cricket.
Image: KL Rahul
Photograph: Matt Roberts/Getty Images