Ganesh Satish slammed an unbeaten 117 and was involved in a 216-run partnership with opener Lokesh Rahul (batting 94) as Karnataka took control of the Ranji Trophy final against Maharashtra in Hyderabad on Thursday.
After bundling out Maharashtra for 305, an addition of just 33 runs to their overnight 272 for five, in the first hour of the morning session, Karnataka ended the second day on 230 without loss in 68 overs.
Karnataka are just 75 runs in arrears with all wickets intact.
Everything, including good fortune, went Karnataka's way, except that opener Robin Uthappa had to retire hurt on 10, with the team's score 14, in the fifth over after being hit on the left elbow by a delivery from Samad Fallah.
However, Raul, the other opener, and one-down batsman Satish played some fine strokes as they capitalised on poor bowling and fielding by their opponents to place Karnataka in a strong position at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium.
Maharashtra's bowlers toiled for two-and-a-half sessions, on a pitch that did not give them much purchase, except the first session during which they got some movement of the ball. They erred in line and length often and were punished by Rahul and Satish.
Maharashtra's woes were compounded by poor fielding, as both Rahul and Satish were dropped twice each, the former on six and 89, and Rahul when he was yet to open his account and on 74.
Despite the initial hiccups, which saw Uthappa walking off the field, and themselves getting lives from butterfingered Maharashtra fielders, Satish and Rahul were never shy of playing strokes.
Satish hit 16 fours from the 207 balls he faced, while Rahul struck nine fours and a six from 189 balls.
Maharashtra's bowlers began promisingly. They got movement of the ball as there was some moisture left on the pitch even after the first hour of the morning session.
In the third over, Rahul was dropped off the bowling of Fallah off the eighth delivery he faced, though it was a tough chance. Harshad Khadiwale could get a hand on to the ball at gully but failed to get hold of it.
Two overs later, Uthappa walked off the field after being hit on his left elbow by a Fallah delivery, and in the ninth over Maharashtra's wicketkeeper grassed an edge from Satish, who was then on six, the unfortunate bowler being Fallah again.
Karnataka score was 28 for no loss then.
Maharashtra had to pay for those lapses, as Satish and Rahul grew in confidence and denied the opposition bowlers any success in the second and final sessions.
Satish and Rahul scored 83 (in 26 overs) and 104 runs (28 overs) in the last two sessions on what turned out to be a grinding day for the Maharashtra bowlers.
Satish was again dropped on 89, just before the drinks break in the final session, but shrugged off the lapse in concentration to get to his hundred five overs later with a four off off-spinner Sangram Atitkar.
Rahul carried his bat through the day too and is on the cusp of his third century this season.
Earlier, after resuming on 272 for 5, Maharashtra sustained for just 14.1 overs.
Ankit Bawne could not add a single run to his overnight score of 89 as he was bowled by Abhimanyu Mithun off the first delivery he faced. The fullish delivery around off-stump cut back sharply to fox Bawne and rock his middle stump.
Atitkar, who began on 29 today, was out for 50 in the 102nd over in team's score of 301. The remaining Maharashtra batsmen were out in quick succession.
Vinay Kumar and Sreenath Aravind grabbed two wickets each for innings figures of 3 for 81 and 3 for 65 respectively, while Mithun finished with 3 for 49.
Image: K L Rahul