Skipper Abhinav Mukund (in pic) and Baba Aparajith smashed hundreds as South Zone took a firm grip of the Duleep trophy semifinal against Central Zone by reaching 479/9, which gave them a 258-run lead on the third and penultimate day of the match in Chennai on Saturday.
Resuming at overnight 137/2, Mukund (111) and Aparajith (109) shared a 190-run third wicket stand to give South the upperhand in the match.
Manish Pandey (81) and Chidambram Gautam (69) also chipped in with fine contributions to steer South. For the Central Zone, skipper Piyush Chawla was the top wicket-taker with 4/159 in 43 overs.
At stumps, Malolan Rangarajan (30) and Sandeep Warrior (0) were holding fort for the South Zone.
Mukund, who was overnight 61, struck 11 fours during his 318-ball stay at the crease. Aparajith, on the other hand, faced 231 deliveries that yielded nine fours and three sixes.
Their partnership was broken when Aparajith became Imtiaz Ahmed's only victim. Mukund followed him to the pavillion in the very next over, caught and bowled by Shrikant Wagh.
But Pandey and Gautam ensured that Central Zone got no respite as they shared a 147-run stand for the fifth wicket. Pandey struck 10 fours in his 133-ball knock, while Gautam smashed seven.
Central Zone: 209 all out
South Zone: 467 for 9 in 161 overs (Abhinav Mukund 111, Baba Aparajith 109, Piyush Chawla 4/159).