Maharashtra batsman Ankit Bawne made an unbeaten 121 but could not prevent India Blue from conceding a 30-run lead to India Red on the third day of the Duleep Trophy match at Bengaluru on Sunday.
After bowling out India Blue for 255 in 83.2 overs, India Red (285 in 1st innings) extended the advantage by moving to 93 for 2 at stumps, a lead of 123 runs.
India Red hit back after a wicketless first session with right-arm paceman Avesh Khan (4 for 58) and left-arm medium-pacer Jaydev Unadkat (3 for 52) and Vidarbha spinner Akshay Wakhare (3 for 32) helping the team pull things back.
India Blue slipped from 193 for 3 to 208 for 8 as Avesh Khan struck thrice and Wakhare got two wickets in a rather unexpected turnaround after a wicketless first session.
Earlier, India Red's attack was unable to make any impression on Bawne and Anmolpreet Singh, with two playing in a confident manner and driving well off the front foot.
Their 129-run partnership for the fourth wicket kept alive Blue's hopes of going past the opponent's first innings total of 285.
However, the exit of Anmolpreet sent the innings into a tailspin as Avesh Khan and Wakhare ran through the middle-order even as Bawne stood firm.
He did find a resolute partner in Aniket Chaudhary (8, 40 balls, 1X4), who helped add 35 runs in a little over 14 overs.
Bawne and No.11 Basil Thampi added 12 runs before Unadkat got the latter leg-before.
In the second innings, India Red lost captain Priyank Panchal early with the Baroda opener getting bowled by Services medium-pacer Diwesh Gurdev Pathania for 9 (14 balls, 2 fours).
Karun Nair, who missed out on a ton by one run in the first innings, joined A R Easwaran (18) and got things moving, with some fluent shots.
After adding 47 runs for the second wicket, Easwaran (18, 30 balls, 2X4s) fell to a catch off off-spinner Jalaj Saxena, who is looking increasingly dangerous.
Meanwhile, Nair and first-innings centurion Ankit Kalsi, were on the lookout for runs and played some good strokes with the former attempting reverse-sweep against Saxena.
At stumps, Nair was batting on 43 (55 balls, 7 fours) while Kalsi was on 21 (34 balls, 3X4), looking to be a lot more positive than in his first-innings ton.
Brief scores (at end of day 3): India Red 285 all out in 124 overs (Ankit Kalsi 105, Karun Nair 99, Ishan Kishan 50, Diwesh Pathania 4/55, Jalaj Saxena 3/57, Aniket Choudhary 2/69) and 93 for 2 in 22 overs (Karun Nair 43 batting, Ankit Kalsi 21 batting) vs India Blue 255 all out in 83.2 overs (Ankit Bawne 121 not out, Anmolpreet Singh 56, Ruturaj Gaikwad 37, Avesh Khan 4/58, Jaydev Unadkat 3/52, Akshay Wakhare 3/32).
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