Northampton: Frontline Indian bowlers suffered a humiliating hammering at the hands of Northamptonshire openers as the home side racked up 198 for no loss by tea on the final day of the two-day warm-up game on Saturday.
Right-handed Mal Loye (97) and left-handed Niall O' Brien (85) were not separated at the tea break as the visitors went through their motions in the field.
Northamptonshire trail by 154 runs with 10 wickets intact in their first innings. India had made 352 all out in their first innings.
Zaheer Khan's much expected return to action after his hamstring injury lasted a mere three overs before he parked himself in the pavilion and did not come out thereafter at all. By the looks, things do not appear too bright for the left-arm seamer ahead of the third Test between India and England at Edgbaston starting on April 10.
Loye and Brien batted with authority and imposed themselves on the Indian bowlers even though leg-spinner Amit Mishra would feel that the umpire at his end was particularly hard on a couple of his genuine appeals.
Pacers S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel were treated without respect by the Northants openers for 51 runs in their 10 overs each while Mishra conceded 44 runs from 17 overs. Part-timer Suresh Raina was punished for 21 runs from his five overs.
As the end of post-lunch session drew nearer, Indians had begun to bowl no-balls and conceding byes off the errant bowling.
Northamptonshire's top order did not have a particularly good time at the crease this season so this success of their openers would particularly rankle the visitors.