North Zone 50 for 1 (Saini 21*, Mandeep 9*) and 337 trail South Zone 477 (Badrinath 136, Sumanth 48, Joginder 3- 66) by 90 runs with nine wickets remaining
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

North Zone got themselves back into the match on the third morning with three wickets in the first session, but just when it looked like they might restrict South Zone to a lead of less than 100, they got sloppy in the field and South's tailenders got their fair share of luck to push the lead to 140.

Scoring was much slower than the frenetic pace of the second day, when 369 runs were made from 86.1 overs. Only 229 runs came from 85.2 overs on Friday, with scratchy batting from South's lower order being the feature of the day. The action-packed second day had seen an altercation between South batsman Robin Uthappa and North bowler Ishant Sharma, and it was announced on Friday that both players would be fined 100 per cent of their match fee.

The day started briskly enough: S Badrinath, who was 97 not out overnight, reached his 27th first-class century off the sixth ball he faced, getting to the landmark with a drive past mid-on off legspinner Amit Mishra. Badrinath went over long-on for six in Mishra's next over and Bodapati Sumanth kept the runs flowing from the other end. When Sumanth was bowled by Sumit Narwal in the 87th over, South had already added 61 runs to their overnight score of 298 and taken the all important first-innings lead.

That wicket, though, seemed to act as a speed breaker to the innings, and only two more boundaries were hit in the rest of the session. Badrinath was unfortunate to be run out for 136 in the 96th over. Ishant Sharma dropped a return catch from Amit Verma, but he inadvertently deflected the ball onto the stumps at the non-striker's end and Badrinath was caught backing up. North found an opening back into the game four overs later when Ishant got CM Gautam to edge a short-of-length delivery to first slip. The umpires called for lunch with North the happier of the two teams.

The opening got bigger straight after the break, as Ishant got R Vinay Kumar in similar fashion to Gautam, edging to Shikhar Dhawan at first slip. Ishant had been poor on Friday, but put in a much improved performance on the third morning and his two scalps had evened out the game. At that stage, South were only 49 runs ahead with three wickets in hand.

But North failed to capitalise and allowed South to build partnerships. Verma hit a couple of big shots off Mishra, before falling to Joginder Sharma for 32. Abhimanyu Mithun chipped in with a useful 26 runs that included some fortunate edges. One of his miscues went away for four to the long-off boundary, and Mithun rubbed salt into Joginder's wounds by hitting him for another four and then a huge six over extra-cover off the next two balls.

Pragyan Ojha came in at No.10 and looked scratchy from the word go. But North gave him a let off the third ball he faced, Paras Dogra dropping a sitter at backward point off Joginder. Ojha managed to last another 57 balls, and scored a frustrating 21. By the time he was out, stumped by Uday Kaul off Yashpal Singh, South had added 91 runs for the last three wickets.

North's openers started their second innings slowly, scoring just 28 runs in the first 16 overs. Ojha was borught into the attack early, and the move paid off as he struck in his fourth over, getting Dhawan to inside-edge one onto his pads and Sumanth pouched the catch at forward short leg. North ended the day on 50 for 1 and will need a huge effort from their batsmen to give themselves a chance of winning the game outright.