Madhya Pradesh rode on opener Naman Ojha's unbeaten century as the visitors finished at 200 for one in their second innings and take an overall lead of 77 runs against Rajasthan at the end of third day's play in their Ranji Trophy Group A match, in Jaipur on Monday.
At stumps, Ojha was unbeaten on 102 off 166 balls with the help of 11 boundaries and three sixes as Madhya Pradesh came up with an improved batting performance in their second essay after starting their innings with a deficit of 123 runs.
Ojha was ably supported by Zafar Ali (54 off 128 balls) as the two produced 134 runs for the opening stand at the K L Saini Ground.
Ojha and Satyam Choudhary (33 not out) will hold the key to MP's fortunes on the fourth and final day as the visitors will try to force a result against the spirited Rajasthan side.
Earlier, Rajasthan added just 73 runs to their overnight score of 306 for six before being bowled out for 379 in their first innings in reply to Madhya Pradesh's 256.
Manish Khatri provided some late resistance and scored a defiant 47 not out in 92 balls.
MP right-arm medium pacer Ishwar Pandey continued from where he had left on Day 2 by removing overnight batsman Dishant Yagnik and Rituraj Singh in quick succession for 32 and seven respectively.
However, Khatri, who was resumed on his overnight score of two, played a sensible knock and mixed caution with aggression to take his team past the 350-run mark. Khatri's innings contained five fours.
Credit should also be given to Pankaj Singh (9) as he hung around for close to an hour with Khatri, adding 25 runs for the ninth wicket.
Pandey was the most successful bowler for Madhya Pradesh, taking six for 92 while Anand Rajan, Rameez Khan and Jalaj Saxena chipped in with a wicket apiece.