Sanju Samson's 175 - his third hundred in a row - was instrumental in Kerala declaring their second innings on 411 for 6 and setting Saurashtra a target of 405 on the final day in Thiruvananthapuram. Should Kerala manage to bowl out the visitors on Monday, they will have 24 points against current table-toppers Saurashtra, who have 23.
Resuming on 69 for 1, Jalaj Saxena and Rohan Prem set the tone for Kerala with 44 each before Samson took over. Along with KB Arun Karthik (81), he added 214 runs for the fourth wicket. Samson's 180-ball knock included 16 fours and eight sixes. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja claimed four victims to finish with ten wickets in the match. Saurashtra lost opener Avi Barot early in their chase, going into stumps at 30 for 1.
In Surat, Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel led from the front with a 172-ball 173 to take his team's total to 601 for 4 before declaring the innings against Rajasthan. Faced with an enormous 448-run first-innings deficit, Rajasthan batted a lot more assuredly in their second innings to go to stumps on 183 for 4.
Despite losing opener Amitkumar Gautam early, Rajasthan, powered by half-centuries from brothers Chetan Bist and Robin Bist - didn't endure too much panic. Chetan (54) and Robin (81) added 115 for the second wicket before the former was dismissed by left-arm spinner Siddharth Desai at the stroke of tea. Rajasthan would've finished the day in a better position, if it weren't for the two late wickets they lost in the last five overs.
In the morning, resuming on 450 for 3, Gujarat galloped towards an even bigger total thanks to Parthiv, who continued to bat at a brisk pace. He raised 105 runs for the fourth wicket in the company of Manprit Juneja, who brought up his runs in a flurry as well to finish with an unbeaten 83 off 100 balls.
Elsewhere, Haryana managed a slender first-innings lead after bowling Jammu & Kashmir out in the morning for 176, but slumped to 161 for 9 in their second innings in Rohtak. In the morning, resuming on 175 for 7, J&K lost their last three wickets for only one run as seamers Ashish Hooda and Ajit Chahal finished with three wickets each.
With a lead of eight runs, Haryana started their second innings well but suffered a collapse as they went from 63 for 1 to 64 for 4, with seamer Ram Dayal accounting for two of the three wickets. Soon after, Dayal, who finished with his second five-for of the match, also dismissed Guntashveer Singh to leave Haryana reeling on 74 for 5. A 54-run partnership between Rajat Paliwal and Rohit Sharma stabilised Haryana momenarily, but the dismissals of Rohit and captain Amit Mishra in quick succession set them back again. Haryana now lead by 169 runs in this low-scoring clash whose final day looks set to produce a result.