SYDNEY, Feb 1 (PTI): The change of format and infusion of young blood failed to bring about a turnaround for India as Australia thrashed the lacklustre visitors by 31 runs in the first T20 International here today.
Australia rode on wicketkeeper-batsman Mathew Wade�s blistering 43-ball 72 to score an imposing 171 for four and then bowled well to restrict India to 140 for six in what turned out to be a lop-sided contest.
After the 0-4 drubbing in the Test series, the induction of the limited overs specialists didn�t bring about any change in the script as neither the batsmen nor the bowlers could create any sort of impact.
The game was as good as over when India lost their first four wickets for 53 runs inside the first eight overs.
Virender Sehwag (4), Gautam Gambhir (20), Virat Kohli (22) and Rohit Sharma (0) were cooling their heels in the pavilion within a blink, giving the hosts the advantage.
It only got worse when Suresh Raina (14), after a hit or two, was clean bowled by the highly regarded Daniel Christian.
Only skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni held his ground and struck 48 off 43 balls with a boundary and three sixes. His late flourish was eye-catching but it was too late by then.
There was a brief sparkle when Gambhir and Kohli put on 41 runs off 30 balls but the disaster was round the corner.
Kohli holed out in the deep off Brad Hogg�s bowling. Gambhir lofted a catch inside the ring as he failed to read the off-break from David Hussey.
Kohli, a redeeming feature of Test series, was claimed by 40-year-old chinaman bowler Hogg off the fourth ball of his first over. Hussey was the surprise packet for Australia, who claimed two wickets for only four runs in his first two overs.
Hussey claimed Gambhir and Rohit Sharma with his part-time off-spin. For Sharma, who had waited all this summer for his first representative game, it was a dismal start as he was bowled off the first ball he faced.
Sehwag was the first one to begin it all in a rather characteristic dismissal this summer � looking to play on the onside, closing the face of his bat too early and edging a catch, off the side of his bat to lone slip Hussey.
Besides his catch and wickets, Hussey played a smart innings of 42 off 30 balls when Australia batted first in the evening. Hussey shared a 56-run third wicket stand with Matthew Wade whose 72 off 43 balls with five fours and three sixes was the talking point of the evening.
Wade, playing his third Twenty20 international, after two unsuccessful ones against South Africa last year, struck cleanly and powerfully to flatten up the largely spin-oriented Indian bowling.
Left-handed opener David Warner (25) led an early charge and then Wade took over as India were once again made to look inadequate in the middle.
Indians opted to field first and sensing a slow wicket, relied almost exclusively on its spinners but still found the home batsmen come out strongly at them.
Ravichandran Ashwin was brought in first up at the sight of Warner, knowing the off-spinner had scalped him twice in the final Test in Adelaide last month.
Australia: David Warner c Raina b Vinay Kumar 25, Matthew Wade b Raina 72, Travis Birt c Raina b Ashwin 17, David Hussey b Rahul Sharma 42, George Bailey not out 12, Mitchell Marsh not out 0. Extras: (LB-1, W-2) 3. Total: (for 4 wkts, 20 overs) 171. Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-79, 3-135, 4-170. Bowling: Ravichandran Ashwin 4-0-34-1, Praveen Kumar 3-0-34-0, R Vinay Kumar 4-0-28-1, Suresh Raina 3-0-22-1, Rahul Sharma 3.4-0-27-1, Rohit Sharma 0.2-0-2-0, Ravinder Jadeja 2-0-23-0.
India: Gautam Gambhir c Marsh b Hussey 20, Virender Sehwag c Hussey b Lee 4, Virat Kohli c Warner b Hogg 22, Suresh Raina b Christian 14, Rohit Sharma b Hussey 0, Mahendra Singh Dhoni not out 48, Ravindra Jadeja c Warner b Christian 7, Ravichandran Ashwin not out 15. Extras: (LB-3 W-6 NB-1) 10. Total: (For 6 wkts in 20 overs) 140. Fall of wickets: 1/6 2/47 3/53 4/53 5/72 6/81. Bowling: Brett Lee 4-0-36-1, Xavier Doherty 4-0-23-0, James Faulkner 2-0-18-0, Daniel Christian 4-0-35-2, David Hussey 2-0-4-2, Brad Hogg 4-0-21-1.