India discard Murali Vijay registered his first century of the season as Tamil Nadu took a huge first innings lead over Mumbai, and then more than doubled it by stumps on Day 3 of the four-day Ranji Trophy semi-final at the Wankhede stadium, in Mumbai, on Thursday.
By close, the visiting team, after packing off the last four Mumbai batsmen in short shrift in the first session to take a 202-run lead, were ahead by 422 runs, scoring 220 for four in their second essay.
Opener Vijay was unconquered on 103, his ninth first class hundred, with first-innings centurion Ramaswamy Prasanna (1), as Tamil Nadu bolted the escape hatch on 39-time champions Mumbai.
The slim chance Mumbai had after conceding the first innings lead in the morning, being bowled out for a paltry 157 when replying to TN's 359, was to dismiss Tamil Nadu cheaply in the second essay and go for an outright victory.
But Vijay, who batted for 12 minutes over six hours and faced 210 balls while striking 15 fours and a six off Ramesh Powar, and Abhinav Mukund (42) put on a breezy stand of 90 in just 20 overs to dash their hopes.
Though Tamil Nadu lost three wickets in 12 overs later in moving to 134, Vijay and K Sri (36 in 138 minutes) batted sedately and lasted as a pair till the last few overs, when the left-handed Vasudevadas departed. By then the visitors' lead was in excess of 400.
In the morning, Mumbai resumed at 121 for six and lost the remaining four wickets in 68 minutes.
For Tamil Nadu, captain Laxmipathy Balaji emerged the top wicket-taker with 4 for 28, while V Yo Mahesh (3 for 63), J Kaushik (2 for 34) and Aushik Srinivas (1 for 18) were the other successful bowlers.
Mumbai began the day with all their top batsmen, barring Hiken Shah, back in the pavilion. They lost Shah within 18 minutes, when he edged a wide ball from Yo Mahesh behind the stumps, and it was just a matter of time before they were dismissed.
Ramesh Powar was bowled neck and crop by Balaji with a full length ball that the batsman tried to drive. It lest the hosts at a sorry-looking 128 for nine.
Dhawal Kulkarni was dismissed by Yo Mahesh when he put up a tame catch to mid-on and the Mumbai innings ended when Kshemal Waingankar became Kaushik's second victim of the innings.
Tamil Nadu started the second innings in whirlwind fashion, with left hander Mukund, out for four in the first innings, and Vijay (who made 47 in the first essay) scoring runs at a fast clip before adjourning for lunch at 80 without loss in just 15 overs.
Waingankar brought about Mukund's downfall soon after the interval with a beauty that beat the batsman all ends up and crashed into the stumps.
S Badrinath and Dinesh Karthik later departed in quick succession, within the space of nine balls for five runs, to raise Mumbai's hopes slightly, but Vijay and Vasudevadas shattered it with a cautious 85-run stand for the fourth wicket in 203 balls.
Vijay reached his half century in 59 balls before tea and was 70 not out in a tea score of 154 for three. He slowed down considerably after the break to ensure Tamil Nadu did not lose wickets in a cluster.
Vijay, who has one Test ton and eight in the Ranji Trophy for Tamil Nadu, lofted left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan over long-on to reach his hundred, in 198 balls and 295 minutes.
Towards close when Mumbai were looking down and out, Waingankar came back for a new spell and dismissed Vasudevadas, who mistimed a pull and was caught at mid-wicket.
Tamil Nadu (1st innings): 359
Mumbai (1st innings): (overnight 121 for 6)
K Pawar c Karthik b Balaji 1
O Gurav c Vijay b Balaji 2
A Nayar c Vasudevadas b Aushik Srinivas 17
W Jaffer lbw b Balaji 0
S Yadav c Karthik b Mahesh 52
H Shah c Karthik b Yo Mahesh 21
A Chavan c Vijay b Kaushik 10
D Kulkarni c Balaji b Yo Mahesh 7
R Powar b Balaji 4
B Sandhu not out 18
K Waingankar c Srinivas b Kaushik 6
Extras: (B-2, LB-7, NB-7, WB-3)) 19
Total: (All out in 51 overs) 157
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-14, 3-14, 4-61, 5-83, 6-98, 7-124, 8-129, 9-142.
Bowling: L Balaji 15-4-28-4, J Kaushik 11-2-34-2, Yo Mahesh 16-5-63-3, R Aushik Srinivas 8-2-18-1, Sunny Gupta 1-0-5-0.
Tamil Nadu (2nd innings):
A Mukund b Waingankar 42
M Vijay batting 103
S Badrinath b Chavan 23
D Karthik b Sandhu 4
K S Vasudevadas c Yadav b Waingankar 36
R Prasanna batting 1
Extras: (B-1, LB-5, NB-2, WB-3) 11
Total: (for 4 wkts, in 70 overs) 220
Fall of wickets: 1-90, 2-129, 3-134, 4-219
Bowling: D Kulkarni 7-3-24-0, Sandhu 18-4-53-1, Waingankar 15-4-43-2, Nayar 2-0-14-0, Powar 7-2-17-0, Chavan 20-4-63-1, Yadav 1-1-0-0.