Melbourne, Feb 5: A lackluster India opened their cricket tri-series campaign on a disappointing note as they slumped to a 65-run defeat against Australia, who yet again exposed the batting chinks of the visitors in a rain-truncated encounter, here today.
Australia recovered from a few early jolts to score 216 for five in their 32 overs and then bundled out the visitors for 151 in 29.4 overs at the flood-lit MCG.
The Indians ‘rested' out of form Virender Sehwag from the team but the batting woes, that has plagued the side right through the Test series, continued to haunt them in the first match of the tr-series.
Some of the batsmen got good start but could not translate them into big scores.
India were never in the chase and but for young guns Virat Kohli (31) and Rohit Sharma (21) and their 51-run third wicket stand, India's top order collapsed in a heap to Australian pacemen.
Clint McKay was the most destructive home bowler, taking four wickets for just 20 runs while Mitchell Starc (2/33) and spinner Xavier Doherty (2/36) claimed two wickets each.
It was left-arm paceman Starc who struck early with the scalps of openers Sachin Tendulkar (2) and Gautam Gambhir (5) in his first spell. Bowling full and with the same venom as in Tests, Starc and his new ball partner Ryan Harris came hard at the Indians first up.
Tendulkar was the first one to leave, driving away from his body and being caught brilliantly by a diving Ricky Ponting at point region.
Gambhir departed in his now customary fashion, edging a catch behind the stumps to Matthew Wade.
Kohli and Sharma were undeterred and gave glimpses of their promise against a hostile opponent. Both flashed their bats hard and were not afraid to come out of their crease.
They had raised 51 runs off 47 balls when Clint McKay, on his first four balls in the match, sent them packing.
Australia: David Warner, Matthew Wade, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (captain), Mike Hussey, David Hussey, Dan Christian, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Pravin Kumar.
Umpires: Nigel Llong, England, and Bruce Oxenford, Australia.
TV Umpire: Paul Reiffel, Australia. Match Referee: Andy Pycroft, Zimbabwe.