Shivkant Shukla (103) and Parvinder Singh (93) led Uttar Pradesh fightback, sharing an unbeaten 190-run stand for the fourth wicket, to take the score to 253 for three on the penultimate day of the four-day Ranji Trophy semi-final match against Tamil Nadu in Nagpur on Tuesday.
It was a day of hard toil for the Tamil Nadu bowlers as Uttar Pradesh batsmen added 228 runs from 90 overs, losing just two wickets in the process to reduce their first innings deficit to 192 runs.
Tamil Nadu had posted 445 in their first essay.
Opener Shukla (103) struck third century of his first-class career and second of the season. His unbeaten ton came off 322 balls and contained 15 fours.
Parvinder, on the other hand, is seven-run short of a well-deserved hundred and his 93 came from 234 balls which was studded with 12 fours.
Resuming at 25 for one, Shukla stood rock-solid even though UP slumped to 63 for three following early exit of his two reputed colleagues Suresh Raina (39) and skipper Mohd Kaif (0), both of whom fell to Laxmipathy Balaji.
Raina, who resumed at individual score of 13, began the day in style, smashing four fours of Balaji but the Tamil Nadu pacer had the last laugh beating him through the gate with an inswinger.
Kaif followed suit soon with a duck as he played on to Balaji in his seventh over of the day. The right-hander faced 12 balls but failed to open his account.
Balaji's quick dual strikes jolted Uttar Pradesh but Shukla, joined by Parvinder, continued his natural batting and executed some fine backfoot square drives as the duo propped up the side to reach 113 for three at lunch.
Early in the post-lunch session, Tamil Nadu captain and wicketkepeer Dinesh Karthik dropped Parvinder, then batting at 20, off Balaji and Shukla too had his fair share of luck as Murali Vijay grassed one off Palani Amarnath when the batsman was on 95.
The dropped catches proved costly for Tamil Nadu as the fourth-wicket duo slowly grinded Tamil Nadu's three-man pace attack throughout the day on a wicket which showed no signs of wear and tear.
For Tamil Nadu, Balaji was the most successful bowler with 2 for 53 while C Ganapathy got the wicket of Uttar Pradesh opener Tanmay Srivastava on Monday.