Bengaluru, January 26: Shreyas Gopal struck a timely unbeaten half-century on Saturday as Saurashtra and Karnataka were headed for an exciting finish in their Ranji Trophy semifinal clash, here.
After bundling out Saurashtra for 236 for a slender 39-run lead, Karnataka ended the third day at 237 for eight to extend their overall lead to 276.
Gopal and Abhimanyu Mithun (35) were unseparated after putting on crucial 61 runs for the undefeated ninth wicket when the stumps were drawn for the day.
Pacer Jaydev Unadkat (3/35) and left-spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (3/77) shared six wickets between them in visitors' fight back.
With two full days left in the game and Saurashtra having the ever-reliable Cheteshwar Pujara in their ranks, chasing a target in the vicinity of 300 should not be a big task for the visitors.
In the quarterfinals, Saurashtra had chased down 372, highest ever successful chase in the history of tournament, against Uttar Pradesh.
Saurashtra added just nine runs to their overnight total, losing Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (3), Jaydev Unadkat (0) and Arpit Vasavada (30).
Ronit More took one of the wickets to register career-best figures of six for 60.
Karnataka's second innings began on a disastrous note with Unadkat getting rid of Ravikumar Samarth (5) in the third over.
Prerak Mankad then scalped Krishnamurthy Siddharth (8) and Karun Nair to leave the hosts struggling at 52 for three.
Mayank Agarwal, who made an impact in the recent Australia Test series, kept one end tight but left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja first removed rival skipper Manish Pandey (26) and then the opener.
Agarwal scored 46 off 77 balls with six shots to the fence.
Gopal (60) batted with determination even as he kept losing partners. He found a sensible ally in tail-ender Mithun (30).
Gopal has faced 134 balls in his patient knock, which has two sixes and a four while Mithun too batted smartly for his 35-run knock which came off 87 balls with four boundaries.