On its first outing, the Kerala team displayed a mix of energy and strategy and caliber to defeat the hosts, who virtually dominated the first half of the game.
The scores were 1-1 level at half time.
However, Kerala team came back strongly in the second half of the game to score two more goals and allow none to the opposition.
Over 15 thousand enthusiastic local spectators gathered inside the stadium late this afternoon to watch a thrilling contest between host Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala.
Jammu and Kashmir missed a couple of chances in the opening moments before Kerala's captain Abdul Naushad beat the defence of host team to score in the 12th minute.
Asif of Jammu and Kashmir gave a sharp pass to striker Ishfaq of the hosts just three minutes before the half time, who scored the equalizer to provide much needed confidence of 1-1 draw to the hosts at half time.
With the start of second half, Kerala team strengthened its defence to tackle the effective striker of Jammu and Kashmir, Ishaq Ahmad.
Two free-kicks just out side 'D' were nicely tackled as Ishfaq was blocked near 'D'.
Kerala captain, Abdul Naushad scored on a counter attack in the 6th minute of the second half followed by the main striker, Asif Zaheer in the 30th minute to scatter the defence of Jammu and Kashmir.
The host team had many miss passes during the half and could not hold the ball till the final whistle blew in favour of Kerala with score 3-1.
Both today's losers are meeting in their second match on June 7.
"We played as a team. Our strategy worked . But we need to win two more semis," said Kerala coach, Victor Manjilla. "The ground was a bit heavy with lot of grass. Asif Zaheer again played the key role. The hosts played really well in the first half."
Asif Zaheer, the main Kerala striker said, "I am thrilled we won. We have to work hard to win the two other semis. Our goal is to win this years Santosh trophy."
In an unexpected result Services beat holders Punjab [ Images ] 2-1.
Services played a confident game from the very start and dominated the Punjab mid-field to win the game by two goals to one.
The first goal for the services came in the 8th minute of first half and the lead was doubled in the 27th minute by Lal Ruatafela on a beautiful ball-play by the midfielders to end the first half 2-0.
Harvinder Singh of Punjab managed to beat the strong defence line of Services team in the 11th minute of second half to score a goal for Punjab.