Clarke top-scored with a workmanlike 108-ball 79 studded with six hits to fence.
Irfan (4/41), Ishant (2/32) and Munaf (1/31) had Australia reeling at 73/5 half-way thro' their innings before Clarke resurrected the tottering Aussie innings with the much-needed partnerships down the order of 39 off 40 balls with James Hopes (19) and 72 off 90 with Brad Hogg (32).
Australia were off to a bad start after skipper Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bat on a sunny day.
Adam Gilchrist (15) and Matthew Hayden added 25 in six overs before the former playing his last international at the Adelaide Oval was bowled by Sharma off an inside edge. Munaf in for injured Sehwag struck in his first over and 11th of the innings dismissing the out-of-sorts Ponting (10) caught by Rohit Sharma at point.
In the following over Pathan had Hayden (13), whose half-hearted cut saied straight to wicketkeeper Dhoni to reduce Australia to 43/3.
Ishant in his second spell induced Andrew Symonds to cut a short-pitched one on the off-stump line straight to Uthappa at gully.
Ponting and Symonds have yet to get going with the bat in this series. Punter has scored only 53 in five innings (0, 9, 9, 25 and 10), while Symonds has just 38 (5*, 12, 14, 4 and 3).
Pathan, who mixed up his normal in-swingers with a slower ones and reverse swings, had Aussies on the mat when he consumed 'Mr reliable' Hussey with a peach of an away-swinger for an easy offering to Dhoni to leave the hosts reeling on 73/5.
At this juncture Hopes joined Clarke and steadied the tottering ship with a run-a-ball 41 stand for the fifth wicket. Aussies nurtured a hope of big one from Hopes as the batsman looked at ease with pace and spin until he was undone by a beauty off Harbhajan. Bhajji's flighted one lured Hopes out of the crease and beat the Queenslander in the air only to find the bails off in a flash.
The next man in Hogg joined Clarke in the middle and the duo consolidated the Aussie innings with 72-run stand.
Hogg was run out in a bad mix-up with Clarke in the 46th over.
Clarke, who had to pass a fitness test on his sore ribs before play started, was the eighth man out, caught by Sharma at deep backward square leg off left-armer Pathan. And four balls later Nathan Bracken who was caught by Dhoni off Pathan for a duck.
Mitchell Johnson (nine not out) and Stuart Clark (eight not out) added 16 off the final 19 balls.
The Australians rested fast bowler Brett Lee and included Clark, and the Indians left out injured opening batsman Virender Sehwag and brought in medium-fast bowler Munaf.
Australia 203/9 in 50 overs (Clarke 79, Hogg 32; Pathan 4 for 41, Ishant 2 for 32, Munaf 1 for 31) Vs India.