Thuthipet: An unbeaten 117 by the experienced Paras Dogra took Pondicherry to 253/4 at stumps on the opening day of their final Ranji Trophy Elite Group C match against Kerala at the Siechem Stadium here on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old Dogra and another seasoned campaigner K B Arun Karthick (65 batting) have added 152 for the unbroken fifth wicket to share the opening day's honours.
Kerala pacers Basil Thampi and M D Nidheesh struck twice in the first two overs to vindicate captain Sijomon Joseph's decision to bowl first.
Basil, who returned to the playing XI, sent back opener Neyan Kangayan for a duck in the first over.
Captain D Rohit, who came in at No. 3, too perished for a blob as he was caught by Sijomon off Nidheesh's bowling as the hosts slipped to 1/2.
Off-spinner Jalaj Saxena removed Sagar P Udeshi for 11 with the total on 19.
Opener J S Pande (38) and Dogra rescued the home side with an 83-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Pandey was cleaned up by Sijomon.
However, Dogra continued the fightback in the company of Karthick.
Dogra, who completed his 31st first-class-ton, has hit 11 fours in his 254-ball knock.
Earlier, Kerala made a couple of changes as pacers Basil and Visweshar M Suresh replaced Vathsal Govind and offie Vaisakh Chandran.
Kerala need a win to have any chance of qualifying for the quarterfinals.
Brief scores: Pondicherry 253/4 in 87 overs (Paras Dogra 117 batting, K B Arun Karthick 65 batting) vs Kerala.