South Zone produced solid batting to take control of the final against North, reaching 298 for three on the second day of the Duleep trophy match in Viaskhapatnam on Thursday.
Three South Zone batsmen -- Robin Uthappa (66), S Badrinath (97 not out) and Manish Pandey (74) -- smashed individual half-centuries as they posted a solid reply to North's first innings total of 337 in 70 overs.
Badrinath and B Sumanth (21) were at the crease when stumps were drawn at the Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium.
Earlier in the day, resuming at 266 for seven, North Zone's first innings ended on 337, in 106.1 overs, with Pragyan Ojha claiming both the overnight batsmen.
Joginder Sharma (30) could add just 26 runs to his overnight score before he was cleaned up by Ojha in the 98th over.
Ojha then removed Paras Dogra (167) by having him caught by Sreenath Aravind. Left-arm medium-pacer Aravind then completed the formalities by disturbing S Narwal's stumps.
In reply, openers A Mukund (34) and Uthappa (66) gave South Zone a good start, compiling 85 runs for the first wicket before their partnership was cut short by Narwal in the 21st over.
Uthappa also didn't stay long and was dismissed by Joginder with 107 on board but Badrinath and Pandey then steadied the innings.
The duo added 136 runs for the third wicket to take South Zone close to the 250-mark before Narwal came back to derail the partnership, removing Pandey in the 52nd over.
But South are still well-placed needing just 39 runs to surpass North Zone's first innings total.
North Zone (1st innings): 337 all out in 106.1 overs (P Dogra 167; P Ojha 3/49)
South Zone (1st innings): 298/3 in 70 overs (S Badrinath 97, M Pandey 74; S Narwal 2/57).