Mumbai: Riding on unbeaten centuries from K L Rahul and Karun Nair, defending champions Karnataka took firm control by finishing day two on a comfortable 323 for five in the Ranji Trophy cricket final here on Monday.
Karnataka have already secured a 189-run lead over their opponents with five wickets still remaining here at the Wankhede stadium.
Rahul (131) and Nair (130) were unconquered at the end of day's play, which saw them overhaul Tamil Nadu's first innings paltry total of 134.
Resuming at an overnight score of 45 for four, title the holders lost night watchman Abhimanyu Mithun (39) early to be reeling at 84 for five.
Mithun was trapped leg before by off-spinner Malolan Rangarajan in the 11th over of the day, adding just 25 runs to his yesterday's score of 14.
The 25-year-old hit 16 off the second over of the day, hitting Laxmipathy Balaji for three boundaries.
Mithun's overnight partner, Karun Nair, having resumed at nine, carried on to notch up his first century of the season.
He added 239 runs with Rahul for an unbeaten partnership for the sixth wicket.
The Indian Test player Rahul hit 13 fours and a six to bring up his century. Rahul, who had retired hurt yesterday due to a hamstring pull after scoring one, batted patiently with Nair to equalise Tamil Nadu's first innings score of 134 at lunch.
The 22-year-old Rahul looked slightly uncomfortable running between the wickets but compensated it with his sensible batting.
Nair, who came in to bat yesterday at number six, was slower than Rahul in bringing his century. He took 248 balls to reach the three-digit mark compared to Rahul's 170. He struck 19 fours in his knock.
The Karnataka batsmen applied themselves to restrict Tamil Nadu from picking any further wickets.
After the fall of 14 wickets yesterday, just one batsman was dismissed today. It wasn't a bad day at the office for the Tamil Nadu bowlers.
Baba Indrajith conceded that things didn't go as per plan for the Tamil Nadu and said Karnataka batted well.
"Today our plan was to take wickets in the morning. It wasn't an easy pitch to take wickets for our bowlers. It was a good batting pitch. We didn't apply ourselves in the first innings (while batting). We must give credit to their batsmen, they played well," said Indrajith.
"We will try to bundle them out. Whatever is the situation, we will give our best. We have got nothing to lose from now. Even if we lose outright nothing in it but if we have a chance we will go for it," he added.
Nair admitted that Rahul's injury posed a slight problem in the running between the wickets but they had decided not to take risky singles.
"We discussed that we won't run any risky singles. We managed to do well," said Nair, adding he asked Rahul to run for three runs to bring up his century.
Nair heaped praises on Rahul and said the Karnataka opener had grown in confidence after playing the Test series in Australia this year.
"I can see he is more confident and the level of batting has gone up a notch. He just kept going," he said.
Tamil Nadu 1st innings: 134.
Karnataka 1st innings: 323 for five in 99 overs (KL Rahul batting 131, Karun Nair batting 130, Laxmipathy Balaji 3/68).