Paras Dogra saved Pondicherry the blushes as his 30th first-class century led the side to 284 for five on day one of its must-win second Elite Group C match against Railways at the IC Guru Nanak College ground in Chennai on Thursday.

After being sent into bat by Karn Sharma's men on a hard and bouncy surface, Pondicherry's Neyan Kangayan and Aravind K got off to a positive start, forging a 65-run opening stand. Neyan raced to 49 with 10 boundaries before edging to Arindam Ghosh at first slip off Yuvraj Singh's bowling. Left-armer debutant Rahul Sharma removed Aravind shortly after, with the extra bounce prompting a tame push from the batter before Lunch.

Rahul returned to scalp Pavan Deshpande, who had walked in with Dogra for the second session, for 14.

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Dogra, joined by skipper Rohit D at 95 for three, took advantage of timid ploys from the opposition to construct a 107-run stand from 221 deliveries for the fourth wicket to lead Pondicherry past 200.

While Dogra spaced out a stroke-laden innings, Rohit (41, 114b, 7x4) waded through six reprieves, courtesy of some sloppy fielding. Rohit eventually fell to pacer Amit Mishra before Rahul snapped wicket-keeper S Karthik for 10.

Fabid Ahmed (16, 21b, 3x4) provided able support to Dogra before retiring hurt due to injury.

Dogra later registered his 30th ton - the third-most in the tournament's history - in the 83rd over with a crisp boundary down to the long-on fence.

He ended the day unbeaten alongside Sagar Trivedi (17, 27b, 3x4) on 107 off 161 balls, an innings studded with 10 fours and a six.