Veteran Karnataka spinner Sunil Joshi's five-wicket haul notwithstanding, Bengal had the upper hand on a turning track as they set the visitors a stiff target of 343 in the second innings on the penultimate day of the four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group A league match in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Karnataka were 41 for one at stumps, still needing 302 runs for an outright win, after the hosts' second innings folded for 206 at the Eden Gardens.
Bengal suffered early jitters as the two openers first innings century maker Arindam Das (3) and Deep Dasgupta (8) -- returned cheaply with only 14 runs on the board, and the collapse continued as Joshi used his experience to exploit the bounce on the wicket to rattle the top and middle order.
India skipper Sourav Ganguly failed yet again, scoring only five before he stepped out to drive Joshi, mistimed and gave a straight catch to Shyam Ponnappa at mid-off.
As the hosts were tottering at 89 for five, all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla (60; 134m, 114b, 9x4) and Sanjib Sanyal (21) tried to steady the ship with a useful 57-run stand for the sixth wicket before Sanyal was snared by Joshi, who finished with figures of five for 62.
The remaining wickets fell quickly and Bengal were all out 26 minutes after tea, after taking a lead of 342.
Karnataka lost skipper J Arun Kumar (13) in the seventh over, but Barrington Rowland (13) and Sujith Somasunder (12) remained unbeaten at close of play.
Bengal (1st innings): 315
Karnataka (1st innings): 179
Bengal (2nd innings):
A Das run out 3
D Dasgupta b D Ganesh 8
D Gandhi lbw S Joshi 29
R Gavaskar st T Naidu b S Joshi 24
S Ganguly c S Punnappa b S Joshi 5
L R Shukla c S Somasunder b S Joshi 60
S Sanyal c T Naidu b S Joshi 21
S Lahiri c S Somasunder b Ganesh 9
M Lodhgar c T Naidu b R Vinaykumar 22
R Bose not out 7
S S Paul b Vinaykumar 0
Extras: (b-4, lb-8, nb-1, p-5) 18
Total: (all out in 72 overs) 206
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-14, 3-47, 4-55, 5-89, 6-146, 7-169, 8-169, 9-206.
Bowling: S Joshi 29-12-62-5, D Ganesh 19-5-53-2, Vinay Kumar 15-5-31-2, S Binny 2-0-12-0, U Patel 7-0-31-0.
Karnataka (2nd innings):
J Arun Kumar c S Lahiri b S S Paul 13
B Rowland batting 13
S Somasundar batting 12
Extras: (lb-2, nb-1) 3
Total: (for one wkt in 18 overs) 41
Fall of wicket: 1-16
Bowling: S S Paul 7-3-16-1, R Bose 5-2-8-0, M Lodhgar 5-1-13-0, S Lahiri 1-0-2-0.