Heavyweights Mumbai took another step towards an outright victory against Jharkhand in their Ranji Trophy quarter-final, in Mysuru, on Friday.
Set a near impossible victory target of 490 on a track that is offering help for the spinners, Jharkhand were 28 for one in their second innings with two full days’ play left and 462 runs to get.
Earlier, talented Shreyas Iyer's quickfire 81 off 106 balls and captain Abhishek Nayar's 43 off 77 enabled Mumbai score 245 in a little over 63 overs in their second innings after Jharkhand were bowled out for 172 in their first essay.
Despite a handy 244 runs lead, Nayar did not enforce the follow-on as his bowlers had sent down 71.5 overs and there was more than two-and-a-half days’ time at his disposal.
Starting the day at 150 for 8, Shardul Thakur took the remaining two wickets in the morning as Jharkhand were bowled out within 8.5 overs in the day.
In their bid to score quick runs, Jay Bista (14) and Akhil Herwadkar (15) hit a flurry of boundaries before both were out in quick succession.
But Iyer, with nine fours and two sixes, added 63 runs in only 13.5 overs with Nayar as Mumbai consolidated their position in the match.
Mumbai 416 and 245 in 63.1 overs (Shreyas Iyer 81, Abhishek Nayar 43, Samar Quadri 5-62).
Jharkhand 172 (Kaushal Singh 43, Akhil Herwadkar 3-26, Iqbal Abdullah 3-50, Shardul Thakur 3-37) and (Target 490) 28-1.
Assam two wickets away from semi-finals
Meanwhile, seamer Arup Das scalped six wickets to reduce Punjab to 224 for 8 in their second innings and take Assam closer to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy in Valsad.
Arup's 6 for 82 wrecked havoc on Punjab, who need another 64 runs with two wickets in hand, chasing 288 to win the quarter-final at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium.
Resuming their second innings at 23 for 4, Assam collapsed to 101, Arup's 31-run cameo being their highest individual score.
He had three fours and two sixes in his 18-ball innings.
Arup then polished off Punjab's top order, dismissing openers Jiwanjot Singh (9) and Pargat Singh (16), and No. 3 batsman Uday Kaul (0), to leave the side struggling at 26 for 3 in 9.3 overs.
Gurkeerat Singh (64) and Mandeep Singh (29) stitched a 70-run partnership for the fourth wicket but both batsmen were removed by pacer Dheeraj Goswami.
Gurkeerat was caught by Gokul Skarma after he blasted 12 fours and two sixes in his 55-ball innings, while Mandeep was caught by PP Das. His innings was laced with four hits to the fence.
The 24-year-old from Barpeta then returned to get rid of the lower order batsmen -- Mayank Sidhana (43), Harbhajan Singh (8) and Siddarth Kaul (10).
At the draw of stumps, Gitansh Khera (35) and Barinder Sran (8) were at the crease.
Earlier, pacers Sran (5 for 43) and Siddarth Kaul (4 for 25) shared nine Assam wickets, while left-arm pacer Deepak Bansal snapped one wicket.
Assam, who had a first-innings lead of 186, resumed their third day at a shaky 23 for 4 and were soon tottering at 53 for 8. It was Arup who took his team past the 100-run mark, eventually setting Punjab a target of 288.
Punjab: 137 and 224 for 8 in 60 overs (Gurkeerat Singh 64, M Sidhana 43, Arup Das 6-82).
Assam: 323 and 101 in 35.5 overs (Arup 31, Sran 5-43, Kaul 4-25).