South Africa A 164 and 179 for 9 (Klaasen 48, Mulder 46, Nadeem 3-17) lead India A 303 (Gill 90, Saxena 61*, Ngidi 3-50, Piedt 3-84) by 40 runs

Only 20 overs of play was possible on the third day in Thiruvananthapuram, but it was enough for India A to set up a potentially convincing victory in the first four-dayer against South Africa A at Greenfields Stadium.

Resuming at 125 for five after two sessions were lost to rain, South Africa A were reduced to 179 for 9 in the last session, with a lead of just 40. The last-wicket pair of Lutho Simpala and Lungi Ngidi were at the crease when light faded.

Jalaj Saxena, who opened up a 139-run first innings lead for India A with an unbeaten 61, was in the thick of things again, picking up two of the four wickets to fall in the day. Shahbaz Nadeem dismissed Dane Piedt to pick up his third wicket in the innings, while the other scalp - of Wiaan Mulder for 46, the first of the day - came courtesy a direct hit from Ricky Bhui.

Heinrich Klaasen, the ninth batsman to fall, was the top scorer with 48. He remained the only South Africa A batsman - and the second in the match after India A captain Shubman Gill - to face over a 100 deliveries. No visiting batsman has managed to top fifty in the match so far.

While there is more forecast for rain, South Africa A's batting collapse may have taken out a draw from the picture, unless the last-wicket pair manage to stonewall India A's bowlers on the final day on Thursday.

The second four-day fixture is scheduled to begin in Mysore on September 17.