Wriddhiman Saha continued in his rich vein of form and struck a brilliant 170, which put East Zone in a commanding position against Central Zone at stumps, on the second day of the Duleep Trophy final in Indore, on Monday.
Replying to Central's meagre 133, East were all out for 370 in their first innings, a sizeable lead of 237 runs.
Central were 48 for no loss in the second innings, still needing 189 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Wriddhiman was undoubtedly the hero at the Holkar Stadium. His 245-ball essay was a blend of caution and aggression, and contained 25 boundaries and a pulled six off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla [ Images ], which helped him get to the three-figure mark.
Starting the day at 88 for 3, East lost Anustup Majumdar (52, 122 balls, 10x4) in the ninth over of the day, caught by Parvinder Singh off Sudhindra's bowling.
However, Wriddhiman showed positive intent and found an able ally in skipper Nataraj Behera (46, 90 balls, 8x4). The two added 109 runs for the fifth wicket.
It was Behera who got the lead with a pull shot off Rituraj Singh's bowling. The kookaburra ball predictably was of little help as it got older quickly, which made it easier for Wriddhiman and Nataraj to play some lovely strokes.
Their cause was also helped by the Central medium pacers who started bowling short, while skipper Chawla bowled some rank half-trackers.
Wriddhiman, in particular, played superb cover drives. When off-spinner Jalaj Saxena was introduced, he used the paddle sweep to great effect.
Behera was finally dismissed when Chawla bowled him in the last over before lunch. That didn't stop Wriddhiman though from playing his strokes. His partner, Biplab Samantray (41, 99 balls, 6x4), too was also in the mood as he hit a few boundaries.
The Wriddhiman-Samantray duo added 87 runs for the sixth wicket before the second new ball did the trick.
Samantray was trapped leg-before by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (3-80) while Shami Ahmed, Shahbaz Nadeem and Basant Mohanty didn't trouble the scorers.
But Ashok Dinda [ Images ] played a nice little cameo -- a 16-ball 24 (3x4, 2x6)-- which helped East take the lead past 200-run mark before Wriddhiman was finally out when he tried to give Chawla the charge only to be stumped.
Central 133 & 48-0
East 370 (Wriddhiman Saha 170, Anustup Majumdar 52, T Sudhindra 3-73, B Kumar 3-80).