After a lacklustre performance with the ball on the opening day, the Madhya Pradesh bowlers came back strongly to restrict Rest of India to 484 in the first innings of the Irani Cup here at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium on Thursday.
Resuming the second day at 381 for three, MP bowlers used the early morning conditions well in the first session with the second new ball and took the last seven wickets for just 102 runs.
In reply, MP started poorly, losing three wickets with just 15 on board as pacer Navdeep Saini (10-4-15-2) bowled a fiery spell with pace and accuracy, picking up two wickets.
However, Yash Dubey (53 n.o.) and Harsh Gawli (47 n.o.) fought back with an unbroken 97-run stand for the fourth wicket as MP finished the day on 112 for three, trailing by 372 runs.
Earlier, pacer Ankit Kushwah struck in the third over of the day by removing nightwatchman Saurabh Kumar, who dragged a wide delivery onto his stumps.
Avesh Khan (4/74), the best bowler on the first day for MP, continued to impress, bowling a nagging line on off-stump, beating the batter on both edges of the bat without luck.
B. Indrajith got squared up a few times and was eventually caught behind when medium-pacer Anubhav Agarwal got one to move away just a bit.
At the other end, Yash Dhull (55) looked positive and kept finding the boundaries with flicks and drives. He whipped left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya off the backfoot to get to his half-century in style.
Just before the first session ended, MP got two quick wickets to leave Rest of India at 467 for seven.
Immediately after the break, Kartikeya trapped Yash Dhull leg-before before Avesh cleaned up the tail, taking the last two wickets off successive deliveries.
MP did a commendable job restricting Rest of India to less than 500 after conceding 381 on day one, but still faces an uphill battle to stay alive in this match.