But hero-of-the-day was undoubtedly Sridharan Sriram who cracked an unbeaten 110 as India 'A', captained by Dinesh Mongia, ended the first day on a respectable 282 for seven in 90 overs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Zaheer, who bowled well at the recent Irani Cup, continued his good work dismissing opener Dheeraj Jadhav (8), and then sent back to pavilion Venugopal Rao (36) and wicketkeeper-batsman M S Dhoni (0) on successive balls.
As India 'A' opted to bat after winning the toss, front-line Indian bowlers Irfan Pathan, Zaheer, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh had a useful practice, just over a week before the game against the Aussies here.
Pathan picked up two wickets -- Gautham Gambhir (45) and Mohammad Kaif (31) -- in the first over after lunch, while Kumble and Harbhajan took a wicket each.
The day, however, belonged to Sriram who batted with confidence to take his side out of the woods after the team was at a shaky 106 for four in the 37th over. He put on 91 runs for the fifth wicket with Rao and 58 runs for the seventh one with Murali Kartik (20) as the lower order batsmen propped up the innings.
The Tamil Nadu batsman's unbeaten knock came in 165 balls with 11 fours. At the close, Ashish Nehra was giving him company with three.
Zaheer turned in an impressive performance returning with figures of three scalps for 38 runs with eight maidens in a disciplined spell.
Pathan, on the other hand, failed to get his rhythm at times and ended the day with two wickets for 61 runs in 18 overs.
The warm-up game is specifically meant for top cricketers to get into the Test mode and right frame of mind in time ahead of the crucial series after a below-par performance in the recent three One-day tournaments.
Ganguly also chose to have some bowling practice in the middle where the Test would also be played, sending down four overs, introducing himself into the attack after ten overs.
Spinners Kumble and Harbhajan did not have a great outing on Tuesday with one for 77 and one for 74 in 25 and 22 overs, respectively.
Wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel did not have a good day either as he dropped Kaif when he was yet to open his account off Pathan.
It was one of his better innings, said Sriram, who had completed his century in style with a boundary off Kumble.
"My job is to score runs. I don't worry about selection. I leave it to the selectors," added the batsman, a consistent performer on the domstic scene who had a good outing in the recent Irani Cup as well.
Gautham Gambhir c (sub) Ambati Rayudu b Irfan Pathan 45
Dheeraj Jadhav b Zaheer Khan 08
Dinesh Mongia b Harbhajan Singh 17
Mohammed Kaif lbw b Irfan Pathan 31
Sridharan Sriram batting 110
Venugopal Rao c Virender Sehwag b Zaheer Khan 36
M S Dhoni c Parthiv Patel b Zaheer Khan 0
Murali Kartik c Rahul Dravid b Anil Kumble 20
Ashish Nehra batting 3
Extras (b5, lb5, nb2) 12
Total (for seven wickets, in 90 overs) 282
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-52, 3-106, 4-106, 5-197, 6-197, 7-255.
India Seniors bowling:
Pathan 18-4-61-2; Zaheer 19-8-38-3; Sourav 4-1-13-0; Harbhajan 22-5-74-1;
Kumble 25-2-77-1, Virender Sehwag 2-0-9-0.