East Zone went in to the second day of the Duleep Trophy Group A tie against South Zone with a plan, and executed it to near perfection.
And at the end of day's play they were enjoying the outcome of their efforts -- a lead of 114 runs with all ten second innings wickets in hand.
For the record, East Zone ended day two of the four-day match at 5-0 after taking a 109-run first innings lead.
Even as they had laboured to 265/7 on the opening day, East skipper Shiv Sunder Das had a plan in his head -- to increase their first innings score to the 300-320 region and thereafter unleash his bowlers to do the job on a conducive Wankhede wicket.
And Das was fortunate that his plan worked to perfection, well almost. East added 48 runs to their overnight total to reach 313. Wicketkeeper Haladhar Das, unbeaten on 78 overnight, just failed short of a well-deserved hundred when Aiyappa had him snapped up by Vinay Kumar for 93.
Aiyappa took the two remaining East wickets -- Debashish Mohanty (16) and SS Paul (17) -- to finish with impressive figures of 5/84. But, by then, East had drawn first blood and probably done enough to have a go at their rivals.
And in only the second over of the South Zone innings, Ranadeb Bose struck, accounting for opener Swapnil Asnodkar (4). A few minutes later it was Mohanty's turn to chip in with a wicket, and he forced D Ravi Teja (13) to edge one to keeper Das.
Murali Vijay (46) and captain S Badrinath (23) combined well for a brief period -- putting 42 for the third wicket -- but just as South looked to have settled down, SS Paul sent down a beauty to uproot the skipper's stumps.
Arjun Yadav (41) joined Murali Vijay and the two put on 59 valuable runs for the fourth wicket before the latter became the first of left arm spinner Tushar Saha's (4/47) four victims. Yadav was soon trapped in front by Palash Jyoti Dash and half the South Zone team was back in the pavilion even before they had reached half of East Zone's total.
R Ashwin (13) got inspired by Sachin Tendulkar's first-ever hit wicket dismissal in one-dayers and fell to Saha in a similar manner and 'keeper LN Prasad Raddy (20) was caught at square leg by Niranjan Behera off Saha again.
Bose came back to have NSC Aiyappa (6) caught behind and Pragyan Ojha was run out before he could open his account. R Vinay Kumar hit a quickfire 24 to help his side cross the 200-run mark before he edged a Saha delivery to Arindam Das at first slip.
The 22-year-old from Tripura was palpably excited at his four-wicket effort in his maiden tie.
"I had just planned to bowl wicket-to-wicket and contain the flow of runs but I got the wickets too," said Saha, clearly enjoying his first major interaction with the media and getting himself clicked for the very first time. But even happier was his skipper. After all, his faith in his bowlers was vindicated.
"It was a disciplined bowling performance," said SS Das. "It was important to maintain the consistency throughout and our bowlers did just that."
However, he refused to consider his team the favourites now and refrained from setting a target.
"We have to bat as long as possible. Only after we bat out the first session tomorrow will we be able to set a target," he said, somewhat cautious. "There are still two days left."
Forced to bat for an over in their second innings before the close of play, East negotiated Vinay Kumar's six balls to reach five without loss, a straight drive to the boundary by SS Das underlining their dominance through the course of the day.
East Zone (1st innings): overnight 265/7
SS Das c Vijay b Ashwin 82
A Das lbw b Vinay Kumar 0
A Majumdar c Vijay b Aiyappa 19
N Behera c Reddy b Aiyappa 8
M Vardhan c Vijay b Vinay Kumar 20
PJ Das c Asnodkar b Ashwin 14
H Das c Vinay Kumar b Aiyappa 93
T Saha c Ojha b Vijay Kumar 29
D Mohanty lbw b Aiyappa 16
R Bose not out 6
SS Paul c Asnodkar b Aiyappa 17
Extras: (lb 4, nb 5) 9
Total: (all out in 91.3 overs) 313
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-46, 3-54, 4-102, 5-134, 6-170, 7-241, 8-285, 9-290, 10-313
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 20-4-88-2, NSC Aiyappa 21.3-2-84-5, P Vijay Kumar 16-5-38-1, P Ojha 19-4-48-0, R Ashwin 13-1-48-2, S Badrinath 2-1-3-0
South Zone (1st innings):
D Ravi Teja c H Das b Mohanty 13
S Asnodkar c Arindam Das b Bose 4
M Vijay c Mohanty b Saha 46
S Badrinath b Paul 23
A Yadav lbw b PJ Das 41
LNP Reddy c Behera b Saha 20
R Ashwin hit wicket b Saha 13
R Vinay Kumar c Arindam Das b Saha 24
NSC Aiyappa c H Das b Bose 6
P Ojha run out (PJ Das) 0
P Vijay Kumar not out 0
Extras: (b 10, lb 2, w 1, nb 1) 14
Total: (all out in 79.2 overs) 204
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-26, 3-68, 4-127, 5-151, 6-169, 7-180, 8-197, 9-202, 10-204
Bowling: D Mohanty 17-6-24-1, R Bose 19-7-60-2, SS Paul 12-2-33-1, N Behera 4-1-14-0, T Saha 22.2-6-47-4, PJ Das 5-0-14-1
East Zone (2nd innings):
SS Das not out 4
Arindam Das not out 0
Extras: (lb 1) 1
Total: (0 wickets in 1 over) 5
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 1-0-4-0.