SECOND ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL, KOCHI:
Australia 306-5 beat India 222 by 84 runs
In an ill-tempered match, Australia were by far the stronger team
Australia handed India a crushing 84-run defeat to earn a 1-0 lead in the seven-match one-day series.
Asked to bat first in Kochi, they amassed a mighty 306-6 and then needed 47.3 overs to bowl out the hosts.
Andrew Symonds hit 87 off 83 balls, but the most impressive innings came from unsung reserve 'keeper Brad Haddin.
Pressed into service after injuries to key batsmen, he hit 87 not out off 69 balls. India lost too many early wickets, Australia catching everything.
India began their chase with plenty of big shots, Robin Uthappa free-wheeling at the top of the order to make 41 off 30 balls with one outrageous six back over Brett Lee's head.
But a brilliant Mitchell Johnson delivery sent back Gautam Gambhir cheaply, before Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh played lazy shots, chipping catches to fielders in the inner ring.
When Uthappa stepped across his stumps to be lbw to the immaculate Stuart Clark, the score was 87-4.
Suddenly India had to play risk-free cricket, and the required run rate started going up.
Rahul Dravid (31) looked to push on, but hit a catch off Brad Hogg which Johnson took over his head at deep mid-wicket, standing no more than a few inches off the rope.
Symonds played a gem of an innings at the Nehru Stadium
Many fans packed into the Nehru Stadium took that as their cue to head for the exits, though 25 overs remained.
They had the right idea, the remainder of the match descending into the sort of sterile contest that has given 50-over cricket a bad name.
Hogg continued to twirl away to earn figures of 3-40, while Clark and Michael Clarke each took two wickets.
Mahendra Dhoni was last man out for 58 in an innings which soaked up 88 deliveries.
Things had started so well for India, reducing Australia to 8-2 in the fourth over when Brad Hodge chased a wide outswinger from Sree Santh.
But Matthew Hayden hit a typically boisterous 75 to lay the platform for Symonds and Haddin.
We didn't bowl well in the last 20 overs and our batsmen failed to apply themselves
The batsmen were not concerned about pacing their innings, trusting their own batting skills to seize on anything loose.
And with the boundary markers brought in following rain in the run-up to the match, Symonds and Haddin shared five sixes - all beautifully struck.
Harbhajan Singh was one of two replacements for the hosts as he came in for the seamer RP Singh - the other being Uthappa for the injured Sourav Ganguly.
But the 21 overs of India slow bowling went wicketless, and were hit for 131.
In truth, India only matched Australia in the verbal exchanges and general posturing, which further marred a forgettable game of cricket.
Afterwards, India skipper Dhoni highlighted his team's failings: "We got a good start with the ball but didn't bowl well in the last 20 overs.
"That's the only concern for us. We lost a few wickets in the middle and that made the difference. Our batsmen failed to apply themselves."
Gilchrist's retirement from one-day cricket may come sooner rather than later following Haddin's recent success, and he said of his stand-in: "It is very satisfying to see new players come in and perform.
"With injuries come opportunities and Brad showed that today."
Though Haddin only played because of injuries to Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, he looks likely to play in the remaining five matches of the series.