The Indian batting once again faltered as Australia won the first T20 comfortably by 31 runs. (AP Photo)
Sydney: India are yet to shrug off the heavy hangover of their four-nil Test series drubbing, with Australia completely outplaying the visitors to thump them by 31 runs in the first Twenty20 on Wednesday.
Chasing a target of 172, India were restricted to 140 for 6 with only skipper MS Dhoni offering any resistance with an unbeaten 48. India’s malaise began in the opening over, as an out-of-form Virender Sehwag fell third ball.
Sehwag, with just four to his name, was caught at slip by David Hussey getting a leading edge to a delivery from Brett Lee. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli steadied the innings with a partnership of 41 before Hussey lured Gambhir (20) out of his crease and got the opener to chip a simple catch to Mitchell Marsh in the covers.
That dismissal saw a batting collapse with Kohli (22) and Rohit Sharma – bowled first ball by Hussey - falling in the space of six runs. Suresh Rain (14) was the next to go when Daniel Christian rattled the stumps to leave India reeling at 72 for 5 in the 12th over. Christian continued to have the Indian batsmen dancing to his tune and struck again when Ravindra Jadeja (7) slogged to long-off.
Dhoni and R Ashwin tried to take India closer to their target with a valiant unbeaten partnership of 59, but with run-rate rising with every ball, India's defeat was inevitable.
Earlier, Matthew Wade's impressive half-century boosted his stock and left India facing a target of 172. The wicketkeeper-batsman outshone his opening partner David Warner, scoring a 43-ball 72 after the latter had perished for an exciting 25.
Warner's remarkable switch-hit for six off the bowling of Ashwin set the Aussie innings in motion after a watchful start, but he was out in the next over when he skied a Vinay Kumar delivery to cover. Warner scored 25 off 14 balls with two sixes and a four that gave Australia the much-needed early momentum. His partner Wade, started on a positive note with his first boundary - a streaky shot past slip off Praveen Kumar - but then there was no stopping him.
Wade shifted gears in the eighth over when Ashwin was brought in from the other end. He smashed him straight for a six and later really took a liking for Jadeja, smacking his third delivery over cover for four. In the next over Wade took up the mantle, taking 16 off an over from Jadeja to reach his fifty in 34 balls. A rain delay soon after stopped him in his stride as Australia were halted on 131 for 2 in the 15th over.
Wade left centre-stage as soon as the game resumed after a 20-minute hold-up. He tried to cut Raina off the back foot but lost his leg stump. The break appeared to have done some good for the Indians who conceded only 40 runs from the remaining five overs.
Hussey was an excellent presence at the other end and he played his part in Australia’s score. He did a decent job of finishing the innings, striking three sixes in his 42 before he became Rahul Sharma's first international victim off the penultimate ball of the innings.