Nagpur: Kerala were 191/3 at stumps on day two in reply to defending champions Vidarbha's first innings total of 326 in their Ranji Trophy Elite Group A match here on Wednesday.
Mohammed Azharuddeen (81) and captain Jalaj Saxena (30) provided a solid start by adding 70 for the opening wicket.
Wiketkeeper-batsman Azhauddeen put on a further 69 for the second wicket along with Rohan Prem (19) before the two fell on 139.
Azharuddeen, who faced 98 balls, hit nine fours and two sixes before falling to left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate.
Sachin Baby (30 batting) and Akshay Chandran (17 batting) have so far added 52 runs for the four wicket.
Off-spinner Akshay Wakhare scalped two for the home side.
Earlier, an unbeaten 66 by No. 10 Darshan Nalkande lifted Vidarbha to 326.
Resuming on 239/6, Vidarbha lost three wickets quickly on the second morning and slumped to 269/9. However, Nalkande, playing his first Ranji game after a gap of more than one year, smashed seven fours and a six in his 65-ball knock to take them past the 300-run mark.
This was the third fifty of the Vidarbha innings after 58 by Ganesh Satish and 57 by Wasim Jaffer on the opening day. Jaffer also became the first player to enter the 12,000-run club in Ranji Trophy.
Nalkande was involved in a 57-run stand for the last wicket in the company of Aditya Thakare, who made just three.
M D Nidheesh, who picked up his third five-wicket haul in fist class cricket, was the most successful Kerala bowler with figures of 5/82.
His pace partner N P Basil claimed 3/54 while captain Jalaj Saxena and Vinoop Manoharan chipped in with a wicket each.
Brief scores: Vidarbha 326 in 107.4 overs (Darshan Nalkande 66 not out, Ganesh Satish 58, Wasim Jaffer 57; M D Nidheesh 5/82, N P Basil 3/54) vs Kerala 191/3 in 54 overs (Mohammed Azharuddeen 81; Akshay Wakhare 2/41).