On a day of fluctuating fortunes, West Indies A batted brilliantly in first two sessions before India A bowlers fought back strongly in the last session of the first day's play to share the honours in the third unofficial 'Test' at KSCA Stadium in Hubli on Wednesday.
Put in to bat, West Indies A were bundled out for 268 in their first innings after a spirited bowling by the Indians in the post-tea session, which saw them picking up last five wickets for just 28 runs.
In reply, India A were 10 for no loss with openers Gautam Gambhir and V A Jagadeesh batting on two and eight, respectively.
Abhishek Nayar finished with figures of four for 61 and Dhawal Kulkarni claimed three for 60, while Zaheer, left-arm orthodox spinner Bharghav Bhatt and pacer Ishwar Pandey bagged wicket apiece.
India A bowlers faced a difficult time in first two sessions inspite of out-of-favour Indian pacer Zaheer Khan giving an early breakthrough in seventh over itself.
The visitors, riding on a valuable 81-run knock by Leon Johnson and his crucial partnerships with Narasingh Deonaraine (35) and Assad Fudadin (47), managed to post 175 for three at tea, losing just a wicket in the post-lunch session.
However, Indian bowlers, especially Mumbaikars Nayar and Kulkarni tore apart the middle and lower order in the final session of the day.
West Indies A were in complete control at 175 for three when tea was taken.
But just after the break, Johnson walked gingerly back to the pavilion after being trapped plumb by Nayar. He faced 148 balls, smashing 15 during his crucial knock.
After Johnson's departure, the rest of the batsmen collapsed like a pack of cards, except Fudadin who scored vital runs off 95 balls with the help of three boundaries, before he was out to a magnificent diving catch by Jagadeesh in second slip off Kulkarni's bowling.
West Indies A could manage only 93 runs after losing Johnson at 175 as fourth West Indies A wicket.