Karun Nair hit an unbeaten 166 for India Red before their Duleep Trophy match against India Blue ended in a draw here on Monday.
Red gained three points for taking the first-innings lead and took a big step towards securing a spot in the final while ‘Blue’ got one point to finish their engagements with two points.
In the last league encounter, India Red will take on India Green at the Alur cricket stadium from August 29.
India Red made 285 in the first innings before restricting their opponent to 255. They scored 297 for six declared in the second innings.
India discard Nair, who missed out on a century in the first innings by a run, looked in good touch and played several handsome strokes on the way to his unbeaten innings.
Nair and first-innings centurion Ankit Kalsi (64) added 157 runs for the third wicket as India Red declared with an overall lead of 327 runs, following which play was called off.
Nair, resuming on his overnight score of 43, kept the scorecard ticking with some pleasing shots, while Kalsi was content to play second fiddle.
He reached his century with a lofted shot off left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar’s bowling.
The Karnataka right-hander looked positive after getting to his ton and hit some cracking shots, beginning his 2019-’20 domestic season in style.
Nair was named Man of the Match.
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 297 for 6 declared in 88 overs (Karun Nair 166 not out, Ankit Kalsi 64, Jalaj Saxena 4/105, DG Pathania 2/53) 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). Points: India Red: 3, India Blue: 1.