Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra claimed four wickets each as North Zone put themselves on the brink of victory on the third day of the four-day Duleep Trophy match played at Usharaje stadium in Indore on Thursday.
North, who scored 500 runs in their first essay, need 144 runs for an outright win on the final day.
The star-studded North Zone team bowled out South Zone for 305 in the second innings with spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra claiming four wickets each.
South, which scored 338 runs in their first innings, had a bad start in their second as they lost their opener Robin Uthappa who was trapped leg before by medium pacer Ashish Nehra for zero in the first over itself.
However, the 150-run partnership for the second wicket between Swapnil Asnodkar (74, 4x11) and S Sriram (80, 4x15) provided some stability before Sriram was caught by M Bisla off Amit Bhandari.
Later, skipper V V S Laxman (59, 4x6, 6x1) combined well with Asnodkar to take the team to a respectable score but after that Harbhajan and Mishra captured wickets at regular intervals and the entire South Zone team was bowled out for 305.
Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 497 for nine, North Zone added just three runs to be all out for 500 in 87.2 overs.
Chasing 144 to win, North Zone was four for no loss with Gautam Gambhir (4) and Virender Sehwag (0) at the crease when the stumps were drawn.
The Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) and the police had a tough time in dealing with the crowd which pelted stones at the players.
The entire lower stands on both east and west sides were vacated after some person threw stones towards North Zone bowler Amit Bhandari, MPCA sources said adding, on Wednesday also some people threw stones at V V S Laxman while he was fielding.
However, in both the incident none of the targetted players were hit or injured but the incident obstructed the match for a brief period, they said.
South Zone 1st innings 338
North Zone 1st innings 500
South Zone 2nd innings
AR Uthappa lbw b Nehra 0
SA Asnodkar c Sehwag b Harbhajan Singh 74
S Sriram c Bisla b Bhandari 80
VVS Laxman c Yuvraj Singh b Mishra 59
Anirudh Singh lbw b Mishra 16
S Sharath c sub (RS Ricky) b Mishra 8
KKD Karthik b Harbhajan Singh 12
SB Joshi c Nehra b Harbhajan Singh 12
L Balaji b Harbhajan Singh 5
MR Shrinivas c Sangram Singh b Mishra 4
R Vinay Kumar not out 3
Extras (b 9, lb 10, nb 13) 32
Total (all out, 81.1 overs, 342 mins) 305
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-150, 3-180, 4-217, 5-238, 6-262, 7-282, 8-288, 9-300, 10-305.
Bowling: Nehra 13-0-74-1, Bhandari 11-3-47-1, Harbhajan Singh 25-6-84-4, Mishra 20.1-7-46-4,
North Zone 2nd innings (target: 144 runs)
G Gambhir not out 4
V Sehwag not out 0
Total (0 wickets, 1 over) 4
Bowling: Balaji 1-0-4-0