Thiruvananthapuram: Skipper Sachin Baby led from the front with a superb 116-run knock as Kerala recovered from 6 for 3 to end day one of their Ranji Trophy Group C match against Karnataka at 224 for 6 here on Tuesday.
Opting to bat after winning the toss, Kerala found themselves in trouble after losing opening batter Rahul P for a duck.
Rohan Prem (0) and opener Rohan S Kunnummal (5) were dismissed by V Vyshak and Koushik respectively as the home side slipped to 6 for 3.
Baby fought back for Kerala in the company of Vathsal Govind (46, 116 balls, 6 fours) as the duo added 120 runs in a little over 40 overs.
The left-handed Baby, however, did not miss out on scoring opportunities that came his way. He hit 12 fours as he kept Kerala in the hunt with a splendid ton, his third of the current Ranji season.
Once the Baby-Vathsal partnership was ended by medium-pacer Koushik (4/36), Karnataka removed Salman Nizar (0) for the addition of two more runs. Akshay Chandran (17) batted in a sedate manner to help the captain add 46 runs for the sixth wicket before he fell to leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal (1/25).
All-rounder Jalaj Saxena, a hugely experienced campaigner, walked in at the fall of Chandran's wicket and made sure that the team did not suffer any further setbacks. He was 31 not out at stumps as Kerala moved to 224 for 6 in 90 overs at close of play after adding 50 runs with Baby.
Brief scores: In Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala 224 for 6 in 90 overs (Sachin Baby 116 batting, Jalaj Saxena 31 batting, Vathsal Govind 46, V Koushik 4/36) vs Karnataka.
In Puducherry: Pondicherry 217 for 7 in 87.2 overs (K B Arun Karthick 68, Paras K Dogra 68, Aravind K 31, Ashish Kumar 3/34) vs Jharkhand.
In New Delhi: Services 175 all out in 59.2 overs (Pulkit Nagar 52, L S Kumar 32, Vijesh Prabhudesai 3/39) vs Goa 36 for 1 in 18 overs.
In Jodhpur: Rajasthan 330 for 8 in 85 overs (Samarpit Joshi 123 (181 balls, 11x4, 2x6), Mahipal Lomror 47, MJ Suthar 45 batting, SS Dhiwan 41, Karan Lamba 30, Vasudev Bareth 3/61) vs Chhattisgarh.