West Zone, who suffered an early jolt with the dismissal of opener Sahil Kukreja without score in the very second delivery of Graham Onions, fought their way back into the game with the solid unbeaten 187 runs second wicket partnership between Jaffer and Rahane.
Even as West were set to take the first innings lead against the visitors with nine wickets in hand, they would be able to make it to the finals of the championship only if they register an outright victory in this crucial match.
With five points from their 5-wicket victory against Central Zone, England Lions are leading the table, while West have picked up only three points from their drawn match against Central.
The Jaffer-Rahane pair, which came together four overs before lunch, defied the England Lions pace and spin attack for 55 overs at stumps. Rahane, who was looking more aggressive than Jaffer, laced his unbeaten knock of 93 with 18 boundaries of 154 balls, while Jaffer's unbeaten 82 of 181 balls was studded with 12 fours.
Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 273 for four, England crashed to 355 all out failing to withstand medium pacer Sandeep Jobanputra (2 for 44) and left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruve (3 for 53).
Jobanputra triggered the England Lions' collapse soon after skipper Michael Yardy was bowled by him adding 18 more runs to his overnight score of 151.
Yardy, who featured in two half century and a century partnership yesterday, departed after producing 55 runs in his fifth wicket partnership with Graham Onions (31). Yardy hit 169 of 325 balls with 23 boundaries during his marathon 403-minute occupation at the crease.
After Yardy made his exit with England Lions score reading 322 for five, West Zone bowlers forced their opponents to go into the shell with immaculate line and length, and the visitors lost their remaining five wickets in a span of 33 runs.
England Lions first innings: 355 all out (overnight 273 for 4); Joe Denly run out (S Trivedi) 32, Michael Yardy b S Jobanputra 169, Ed Joyce lbw A Makada 32, Jon Trott lbw A Makada 44, Graham Onions c S Kukreja b S Jobanputra 31.
West Zone first innings: 187/1; Wasim Jaffer batting 82, Ajinkya Rahane batting 93