On a day of fluctuating fortunes in which 17 wickets fell, Uttar Pradesh, set to score 129 in a maximum of 25 overs, started on a rousing note, lost ground in the middle, and were facing defeat, but hung on gamely for a creditable draw.
Uttar Pradesh finished at 100 for seven and gained two points for their 95-run first innings lead.
Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 63 for no loss, the home team collapsed after a 130-run opening wicket stand between S Anirudha (86, 122 balls, 11x4, 2x6) and M Vijay (45, 148 balls, 4x4, 1x6) to be bowled out for 223 in 86 overs.
The hosts crumbled from 162 for two in 53 overs to 223 all out due to indiscreet shot selection.
Leg spinner Piyush Chawla made the Tamil Nadu batsmen dance to his tunes with a five wicket haul to put Uttar pradesh on course for an outright win.
The visitors went about their chase in typical one-day fashion and tinkered with the batting order. Skipper Md Kaif (13, 16 bals 1x4, 1x6) promoted himself to the top and opened with Suresh Raina (32, 37 balls, 5x4). They set the tone with a quickfire 31 in 4.4 overs.
Raina and Piyush (18) then added another 35 for the second wicket in 6.3 overs as Uttar Pradesh scored at six an over.
However, Raina's exit triggered a collapse as off spinner R Ashwin, playing only his second match, spun a web, picking up five wickets to finish with a match haul of 11 for 151.
Tamil Nadu sensed an improbable victory at one stage as Uttar Pradesh were reeling at 89 for seven in 17.3 overs. However the 'regular' openers R P Srivatsava (18 not out, 28 balls, 49 mins, 2x4) and S S Shukla (three not out, 27 balls) came together, withstood the mounting pressure, and saved the day.
Tamil Nadu (first innings): 325.
Uttar Pradesh (first innings): 420
Tamil Nadu (2nd innings): 223 all out in 86 overs (M Vijay st Amir Khan b Piyush Chawla 45, S Anirudha c Shukla b Piyush Chawla 86, R Prasanna lbw Praveen Kumar 30, Amir Khan b Srivastava 17).
Uttar Pradesh (2nd innings): 100 for seven in 25 overs (M Kaif c and b Mahesh 13, S K Raina lbw b Ashwin 32, Piyush Chawla st Varun Kumar b Badrinath 18, Rohit Prakash Srivastava not out 18) UNI