Indian leg spinner Piyush Chawla grabbed a four-wicket haul to trigger an Australia batting collapse on Sunday and hand his captain a World Cup selection dilemma.
Chasing a modest 215 for victory, World Cup holders Australia were cruising at 118 for one with captain Ricky Ponting well set, before India’s spinners ran through the middle order for a 38-run win.
Chawla, a surprise inclusion in India’s World Cup squad, and established off-spinner Harbhajan Singh took seven wickets between them to bowl out Australia for 176.
Chawla took four for 31 in his first one-day international in India.
Harbhajan claimed three for 15, while Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh picked up a wicket each.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni now faces a tricky choice in selecting a second spinner alongside Harbhajan.
He said, however, that besides the nature of the wicket, the ability of a bowler to contribute with the bat could also be a deciding factor.
“If he [Chawla] could make 15-20 runs with the bat that would be really great for the side, but as a specialist spinner he has done well,” Dhoni said at a news conference.
Dhoni warned, however, that the middle order needed to start contributing more if the team was to score big totals when it mattered.
India’s batting line-up failed to click in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, who was rested with a hamstring niggle.
Virat Kohli (21), Yuvraj (1) and Suresh Raina (12), all looked uncomfortable against the short ball.
Yusuf Pathan (32) and Ashwin (25 not out) stitched together a 49-run stand for the ninth wicket, before a late flourish by Ashish Nehra (19) helped India past 200.
Earlier, Virender Sehwag showed no signs of the shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for the past few months as he scored 54 at almost a run a ball.
Ponting top scored for Australia with 57, showing no signs of the broken finger he suffered in the Ashes and playing at a steady pace, before a rush of blood saw him stumped by Dhoni off Harbhajan.