Tamil Nadu took the first-innings lead against Gujarat in Belagavi to almost seal the qualifying scenarios from the group. Going into the final day, it was all but certain that these two sides - barring a Gujarat collapse, however unlikely - will join Mumbai as the three qualifiers from Group A. This became a real possibility late in the day when it emerged that Madhya Pradesh were unlikely to force a bonus-point win over Bengal in Delhi.
Tamil Nadu had Kaushik Gandhi to thank for being in this position. The top-order batsman, who has come into his own this season after being in and out of the side in the past, struck his third century of the season. He was unbeaten on 150 as Tamil Nadu ended the day 90 ahead, on 397 for 4. His 116-run stand with B Indrajith, who made 66, helped the side recover from the late dismissal of Abhinav Mukund (99) on the second day. Gandhi and Vijay Shankar (35 not out) had added 97 when play ended.