Vadodara:Despite three half-centuries, Rajasthan bowlers emerged on top as they reduced Baroda to 324 for eight at the end of the third day's play in the Ranji Trophy Super League final here on Thursday.
At stumps on the penultimate day of the four-day match, Baroda still trail Rajasthan by 70 runs in reply to the visitor's 394.
Vivek Yadav (4/73) and Deepak Chahar (3/72) forced Baroda batsmen to commit mistakes as they maintained a tight line and length, giving the home team batsmen little opportunity to score easy runs at the Moti Bagh stadium here.
Even as Jaykishan Kolsawala (64), Aditya Waghmore (52) and skipper Pinal Shah (77) chipped in with crucial runs, Baroda kept losing wickets at regular intervals, which forced them on to the back foot.
Resuming at the overnight score of 73 for one, Kolsawala, and Kedar Devdhar started on a positive note but runs soon dried up when Yadav came into the attack.
In his first seven overs, Yadav just conceded nine runs and dismissed both the overnight batsmen Kolsawala and Devdhar in quick succession to leave Baroda suddenly reeling at 113 for three from a comfortable 110 for 1.
Kolsawala became Yadav's first victim of the day when the spinner saw him off for a well-made 64 off 151 balls, which was studded with 12 fours, and then followed it up by sending back Devdhar for 19.
New batsmen in Waghmore and Ambati Rayudu (19) tried to steady the boat for a while but the latter, who though started off well by hitting two fine cover-drives, failed to sustain and his stay at the crease was cut short by Chahar.
However, skipper Shah in the able company of Waghmore fought back hard. The duo kept on picking up quick singles, besides punishing the loose deliveries to keep the scoreboard moving.
Riding on some sensible batting, the duo stitched a valuable 90-run stand before Waghmore, soon after reaching his half-century, fell victim to Yadav, brilliantly caught by Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar.
Waghmore's dismissal on 52 (131, 7x4) with Baroda scorecard reading 226 for five, left Shah in the company of tailenders to overcome a huge total of 394 runs set by Rajasthan in their first innings.
Swapnil Singh (17) continued for a while but Pankaj Singh saw him off, and then Chahar was quick to remove Abhijit Karambelkar for a duck before getting the prized wicket of Shah, trapping him leg before.
But just when it seemed it was all over for Baroda at 288 for eight, Sankalp Vohra and Murtuja Vahora showed character as they shared an unbeaten 36-run stand for the ninth-wicket, before stumps were drawn for the day.
At end of day three, Vohra was batting on 16 while Vahora was on 21. But Rajasthan require just two wickets to take the first innings lead, which could well give them the trophy.