Ramaswamy Prasanna struck a fighting, unbeaten 81 and added 111 with Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh to lift Tamil Nadu from a precarious position to a respectable 250 for 6 by close on Day 1 of the four-day Ranji Trophy semi-final against Mumbai, at the Wankhede stadium on Tuesday.
Tamil Nadu were tottering at 139 for 6 at lunch, having lost five wickets on either side of the interval for the addition of only 32 runs.
However, Prasanna and Mahesh dug in and added 111 runs for the undefeated seventh wicket.
At close, the 29-year-old Prasanna, playing in only his 24th first class fixture, was unbeaten after a vigil of 245 minutes during which he slammed 12 fours from 177 balls.
Yo Mahesh, a handy lower order batsman and medium pacer, was giving him company with a responsible 34 not out after a 185-minute stay at the crease, facing 142 balls.
The seventh-wicket pair denied Mumbai, who had given first strike to Tamil Nadu after winning the toss, any wicket after the first hour of the second session, and also saw off the second new ball, taken eight overs before close.
Their partnership, that spanned 279 balls, pulled the visitors from a deep rut that saw Tamil Nadu lose three wickets in four balls in only six minutes before lunch, including two off successive deliveries, at the same score of 107, and then two more soon after the break.
The man doing serious damage to the strong Tamil Nadu ranks, after a 99-run second-wicket stand between opener Murali Vijay (47) and Subramaniam Badrinath (56), was young Mumbai medium pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu, in his first season.
The right arm bowler ended the day with fine figures of 4 for 80 after being on a hat-trick during his superb second spell of 2-0-8-2, after grabbing the wickets of Vijay and Dinesh Karthik with successive balls.
Dhawal Kulkarni secured the other two wickets that fell and ended with figures of 2 for 60.
Tamil Nadu (1st innings):
A Mukund b Kulkarni 4
M Vijay c Gurav b Kulkarni 47
S Badrinath b Sandhu 56
Dinesh Karthik lbw b Sandhu 0
K Vasudevadas c Gurav b Sandhu 14
R Prasanna not out 81
Sunny Gupta c Shah b Sandhu 12
VY Mahesh not out 34
Extras: (B-1, NB-1) 2
Total: (6 wickets in 90 overs) 250
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-107, 3-107, 4-107, 5-125, 6-139
Bowling: Kulkarni 26-10-60-2, Sandhu 21-3-80-4, Waingankar 14-5-32-0, Nayar 5-0-23-0, Powar 12-1-34-0, Chavan 10-2-19-0, Yadav 2-1-1-0.