Defending champions Railways were struggling to avoid innings defeat as Tamil Nadu, riding on S Badrinath's knock of 106, tightned their stranglehold on the match at the end of the penultimate day of the four-day Ranji trophy elite group 'A' match in New Delhi on Saturday.
At stumps, Railways were 25 for two in their second innings after having conceded a 101-run lead.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu were all out for 371 after Railways, in their first essay, had scored 270.
Railways lost two crucial wickets at the fag end of the day and both the batsmen gifted their wickets to the bowlers on a placid track.
Resuming at their overnight score of 211 for four, Tamil Nadu added 160 runs to their total before being all out for 371 after tea.
S Badrinath, overnight 59, led the the charge for the vistors as he cracked his fourth century in this competition.
He, along with Hemanth Kumar, put up 113 runs for the fifth wicket, enabling Tamil Nadu to take the crucial first innings lead.
The two saw through the pre-lunch session in which they put up 78 runs to take the score to 289 for four.
Hemanth lost his wicket soon after the lunch being clean bowled by Kulamani Parida. His 53-rin knock was studded with five boundaries and he was at the crease for 230 minutes.
It was Railway skipper Sanjay Bangar who finally managed to get rid of Badrinath when the score was 311. The batsman edged the bowler and was superbly caught by wicket keeper Wankhade.
His 106 included one six, 10 fours and came off in 521 minutes.
Tamil Nadu's innings folded up in 156.1 overs and 618 minutes with R Naresh remaining unbeaten on 25. Madan Yadav took four and Bangar three wickets.
In the remaining 12 overs' play, Tamil Nadu struck two vital blows which brightened their chances for outright victory.
Opener Amit Pagnis (11) needlessly nibbled at an outside the off stump delivery of R Naresh and was caught behind by Dinesh Kaarthick.
The score that stage was 14 and six runs later T P Singh (4) attempted to sweep Aashish Kapoor only to be caught by Anirudha at first slip.
Bangar (6) and J P Yadav (1) were at the crease at the close of the play.
Railways (first innings) 270
Tamil Nadu (first innings)
S Anirudha b J P Yadav 19
S Vidyut lbw b Harvinder Singh 1
S Sriram c Y Goud b M Yadav 59
S Badrinath c Wankhede b S Bangar 106
H.Badani st Wankhede b M Yadav 54
C Hemanth Kumar b K Parida 5
D Karthik b M Yadav 7
R Naresh not out 25
A Kapoor c & b M Yadav 13
R Jesuraj b S Bangar 0
T Kumaran lbw b S Bangar 5
Extras (B-11, LB-8, NB-8, W-2) 29
Total (All out in 56.1 overs) 371
Fall of wickets: 1/13 2/32 3/100 4/188 5/301 6/311 7/327 8/352 9/353
Bowling: Harvinder Singh 16-05-59-1, J P Yadav 32-16-32-1, Sanjay Bangar 29.1-7-65-3, Kulamani Parida 39-13-73-1, S Khanolkar 5-0-21-0, Madan Yadav 33-5-94-4, Yere Goud 2-0-01-0
Railways (second innings):
Amit Pagnis c D Kaarthik b R Naresh 11
Sanjay Bangar batting 6
T P Singh c Anirudh b A Kapoor 4
J P Yadav batting 1
Extras (NB-3) 3
Total (For two wickets in 12 overs) 25
Fall of wickets: 1/14 2/20
Bowling: R Jesuraj 4-1-8-0, R Naresh 3-1-12-1, A Kapoor 2-2-0-1, T Kumaran 2-1-4-0, Sriram 1-0-1-0