Bangalore: Karnataka inched closer to winning the Irani Trophy crown after Chidambaram Gautam's brilliant 122-run knock guided them to a mammoth 606 in their first innings against Rest of India on the third day here today.
The total gave Karnataka a huge first innings lead of 405 runs before they reduced ROI to 114 for three in their second innings, leaving the visitors trailing by 291 runs with seven wickets in hand.
Karnataka first skittled out the visitors for 201 in their first innings and then batted with responsibility to reach 606 all out with Gautam cracking a sparkling century.
At stumps, Baba Aparajith and Dinesh Karthik were batting on 42 and nine runs respectively for Rest of India.
Much was expected of Gautam Gambhir but he failed to impress the national selectors, who had descended here to pick the World T20 and Asia Cup ODI squads.
The India discard edged one to Manish Pandey at second slip, who took a magnificent diving catch.
Opener Jiwanjot Singh (7) also failed to impress as he was dismissed by Vinay Kumar. Kedar Jadhav scored 44 in 65 balls with seven hits to the fence, before he was scalped by spinner Shreyas Gopal.
The 27-year-old Gautam notched up his ninth first-class century while Vinay Kumar (31) and Abhimanyu Mithun (34) chipped in to script useful partnerships with the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Gautam and Vinay put on 88 runs for the seventh wicket and had a 57 and a 61-run stand with Shreyas Gopal and Mithun for the eighth and ninth wickets, frustrating the ROI bowlers to no bound. Gautam cracked 17 boundaries and six in his 168-ball knock.
Resuming the day at 390 for five, Karnataka lost their sixth wicket after centurion Stuart Binny added seven runs to his overnight score of 115. He was castled by pacer Pankaj Singh when he got an inside edge trying to defend.
With two full days left in the game, Karnataka will now try to push ROI on the backfoot by taking quick wickets in the morning session tomorrow and go after an outright win on a changing Chinnaswamy track.
Pankaj Singh was the most successful bowler for the visitors, picking up six wickets after conceding 122 runs in 35 overs.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra picked up a wicket to end up with dismal figures of one for 100 in 25 overs.
Gautam brought up his fifty in the 115th over when he hit Ashoke Dinda for a couple to mid-wicket and then reached his century after he pushed Baba Aparajith to the cover fence.
Karnataka crossed the 600-run mark in 145th over and the lead increased to 405 at the end of the same over.
The runs came at a fast clip as Gautam specially didn't miss out on punishing the loose deliveries.