Kolkata, Dec 8: Taking full advantage of poor fielding by Bengal, Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas hit a century to help Tamil Nadu post a challenging 391 in their first innings before reducing the hosts to 84 for two on the second day of their Group B Ranji Trophy Elite Division match on Wednesday.
Bengal still need 307 runs with Shreevats Goswami batting on 33 and Writam Porel on 4 at the stumps on Day two.
Earlier, resuming at an overnight score of 261 for 5 with Vasudevadas batting on 69 and Ramaswamy Prasanna on 53, Tamil Nadu went on to add more than hundred runs to the total as the wagging tail gave a listless Bengal attack a tough time.
While Vasudevadas brought up his ton, Prasanna gave him a good support at the other end before falling for a well-made 67 off 209 balls, studded with 11 fours.
The overnight pair put on a valuable 160-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Ranadeb Bose (2/87) then claimed the prized wicket of Vasudevadas for 190-ball 106 that included 17 fours and a six, to give Bengal a chance of folding their opponents below 350 but skipper Lakshmipathy Balaji spoilt their plans.
Bengal, meanwhile, played perfect hosts by letting the visitors off the hook as Balaji went on to hit an unbeaten 49 from 88 balls, including six fours and a six, to put Tamil Nadu on top.
Bengal had a fine chance to dismiss Vasudevadas when he was on 74 with the team's total reading 272 for 5 but wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami dropped an easy catch off Ganguly's bowling to give him a life.
Vasudevadas, who was dropped on Tuesday as well on 13, made full use of the opportunity to notch up his personal best score of 106, which is his second century.
Balaji too got a life on 28 with Tamil Nadu at 364 for 9 at that stage.
Iresh Saxena, who dropped Prasanna on Tuesday, repeated the same mistake to compound Bengal's misery.
With opener Rohan Banerjee still in hospital after being hit on lower abdomen while fielding at forward short leg yesterday, Arindam Das had a new partner in left-hander Goswami.
The duo added 56 runs before Das threw his wicket away when he gave Badrinath an easy catch while trying to step out against left-arm spinner R Aushik Srinivas.
But Goswami looked good in his approach during his steady innings of of unbeaten 33 from 108 balls (7x4) even as Bengal lost another wicket in Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (16) when he edged one at the second slip.
CAB joint-secretary Sujan Mukherjee said Banerjee would be fit to play on Thursday though the batsman might need a runner.
Lying at the bottom of the table with five points from three matches, two-time champions Bengal are desperate to come out of the relegation zone.
Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, are at fourth spot. Bengal were relegated to Plate in the 2007-08 season.
Brief scores: TN 1st innings: 391 all out in 129 overs (Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas 106, Ramaswamy Prasanna 67; Lakshmipathy Balaji not out 49; Ashok Dinda 4/87, Shami Ahmed 3/81).
Bengal 1st innings: 84 for two in 35 overs (Shreevats Goswami batting 33; R Aushik Srinivas 1/15).