Thuthipet: Kerala's hopes rest once again on Sachin Baby as they reached 111/3 in reply to Pondicherry's 371 at stumps on the second day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group C match at the Siechem Stadium here on Wednesday.
Sachin (30) and Salman Nizar (24) were at the crease after yet another top-order flop show. Openers Rohan Kunnummal and P Rahul fell for 17 and 18 respectively, while one-drop Rohan Prem made 19.
Sachin and Salman have added 40 for the unbroken fourth wicket. Sachin also went past the 800-run mark for the season during the course of his knock.
Kerala need 261 more to gain the vital first innings lead.
Earlier, the overnight pair of Dogra and K B Arun Karthick took Pondicherry's score from 253/4 to 280 before the latter was trapped in front of the wicket by pacer Basil Thampi.
Karthick's 133-ball 85 included eight fours and a six. The two added 178 for the fifth wicket.
Dogra put on a further 74 with Akash Kargave for the sixth wicket. Kerala captain Sijomon Joseph struck on the stroke of lunch by removing Kargave for 48.
Jalaj Saxena cleaned up the lower order in the post-lunch session. Dogra was the last wicket to fall after a marathon effort. The veteran right-hander hit 13 fours in his 361-balll knock.
Saxena's 5/75 was his 28th five-wicket haul at the first-class level. The 36-year-old offie has picked up 50 wickets in this Ranji season. It was also his seventh five-for from as many matches in the ongoing campaign.
Pondicherry lost their last five wickets for the addition of just 17 runs.
Brief scores: Pondicherry 371 in 127.3 overs (Paras Dogra 159, K B Arun Karthick 85, Akash Kargave 48; Jalaj Saxena 5/75, Sijomon Joseph 2/66, Basil Thampi 2/76) vs Kerala 111/3 in 43 overs.