Cheteshwar Pujara, who was named Player of the Tournament in the marquee Test series Down Under, reached his hundred in 197 deliveries. @ AFP

India’s hero in the historic four-match Test series win against Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten century – his 49th in first-class cricket – has put Saurashtra on course for victory on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy 2018-19 semi-final against Karnataka at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.

At stumps, Saurashtra were 224/3 with Pujara unbeaten on 108, while the experienced Sheldon Jackson 10 runs shy of his 16th first-class ton as the visiting side require just 55 runs to book their berth in the final. (ALSO READ: Kerala’s VA Jagadeesh retires from first-class cricket)

Chasing 279, Saurashtra were wobbling at 23/3. Vinay Kumar’s twin strikes of Snell Patel in the first over and Vishavarajsinh Jadeja in the third over with both batsmen registering ducks left Saurashtra at an embarrassing 2/3. Harvik Desai added just 9 before he was dismissed by Abhimanyu Mithun in the sixth over.

Pujara and Jackson then joined forces as the duo forged an unbeaten 201 runs for the unconquered fourth wicket to put Saurashtra within touching distance of reaching the final.

Pujara, who was named Player of the Tournament in the marquee Test series Down Under, reached his hundred in 197 deliveries. His 216-ball stay at the crease was studded with 14 boundaries, while Jackson tonked 13 fours en route to his 204-ball 90 not out.

Earlier, resuming their overnight score of 237/8, Karnataka’s resistance ended with Shreyas Gopal, overnight on 61, departing to Dharmendrasinh Jadeja without adding any runs to his tally on the morning. Left-arm spinner Jadeja wrapped up the innings three balls to see the back of Ronit More for a three-ball duck as Karnataka were back in the hut for 239.

Jadeja picked up a five-wicket haul and returned with exceptional figures of five for 78 in his 28 overs. Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who picked three wickets on Saturday, left his wickets column untouched.

Brief scores: Saurashtra 236 & 224/3 (Cheteshwar Pujara 108*, Sheldon Jackson 90*) need 55 runs to win against Karnataka 275 & 239 (Shreyas Gopal 61, Mayank Agarwal 46; Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 5/78, Jaydev Unadkat 3/35)