Talented Mumbai youngster Suryakumar Yadav hit a sparkling century under pressure to guide West Zone to a respectable 299 for 7 in the Duleep Trophy match against East Zone, in Valsad, on Friday.
Coming in at No 6, with West reduced to 41 for four, Yadav took the East attack to the cleaners as he smashed his way to 134 off only 137 balls, with the help of 23 boundaries and a six.
Along with captain Cheteshwar Pujara (55, 107 balls, 10x4), Yadav added 153 runs for the fifth wicket in less than 30 overs to get West back in the game after a top-order collapse in the first hour.
Bengal speedster Ashok Dinda (2-75) started the slide, castling Harshad Khadiwale (1) in the fifth over of the day.
Mumbai opener Kaustubh Pawar (9) struggled for 70 minutes before edging one off Basant Mohanty to Shreevats Goswami behind the stumps.
To make matters worse, Abu Nechim Ahmed cleaned up the dangerous Abhishek Nayar (14) and then had talented Ambatui Rayudu (9) caught by Biplab Samantray to claim his second wicket.
At 41 for four, Yadav, who was the fourth highest scorer in the recently-concluded Ranji Trophy (754 runs) joined Pujara, and immediately started attacking the bowling.
The youngster launched into Dinda and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem (1-83 in 17 overs) and gave them some harsh treatment. He played shots on all sides and used his feet to good effect.
Pujara, who is on a comeback trail, also looked determined to make most of a below-par East attack.
Finally, when Nechim got his third victim after holding onto a return catch from Pujara, West had scored 194.
Yadav was eventually out when Shreevats caught the batsman off Nadeem's bowling.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rohit Motwani (45) and young Akshay Darekar (25 batting) added 66 runs for the seventh wicket before Dinda dismissed the former with the last delivery of the day.
Brief Scores: West Zone 299-7 (S Yadav 134, C Pujara 55, AN Ahmed 3-56) vs East Zone.