Bangalore: India succumbed to a crushing nine-wicket defeat in the Twenty20 tie against Australia at MCG, Melbourne on Friday.
World champions were dismissed for a woeful 74 in 17.3 overs in reply Australia chased down the required target in 12 overs losing the lone wicket of Gilly (25) in the process. Skipper Clarke, who had started it all with an acrobatic pick-and-thorw to run out Sehwag, returned to make run-a-ball 37 studded with a boundary and a six.
Earlier, India narrowly averted setting a new record for lowest total ever having bettered Kenyan 'feat' by one run. Kenya was skittled out for 73 by New Zealand in T20 World Cup last Sept.
Team India tumbled like a pack of cards after their batsmen succumbed playing questionable shots.
India, opting to bat first, had a nightmarish of starts losing both the openers early in quick succession. Michael Clarke the stand-in captain ran out Virender Sehwag (0) in the very first over with an exceptional piece of fielding.
After diving to his preferred left side, Clarke threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end with Sehwag well short of his ground. In the following over Gambhir (9) followed his partner to pavilion. The Delhi southpaw spooned a full-length ball off Bracken to Hopes at mid-off.
And soon the Aussie new-ball bowlers reduced the visitors to 20/4. Bracken dismissed Uthappa caught by the debutant David Hussey while Lee unleashed a 155k thunderbolt of a full toss to uproot the off-stump of clueless Dinesh Karthik (8). Mumbai swashbuckler Rohit Sharma (8) too came and went in whimper. He was castled by Hopes.
India was then forced to play convservatively in order to save themselves from the embarrassment of being bowled out in 20 overs.
Skipper Dhoni's (9 off 27 balls) agonising stay at the crease was ended when the India stumper trying to up the ante heaved David Hussey's flighted one straight to Lee stationed at deep mid-wicket.
Indian tail too failed to wag on this occassion. Harbhajan and Sreesanth departed in consecutive balls.
However the last batting pair saved their side the blushes after bettering the lowest ever total by one run.