New Delhi:A magnificent century by the Sachin Tendulkar ensured India beat Australia by six wickets in the first final of the CB series at the SCG on Sunday.
With Tendulkar making an unbeaten 117 from 120 balls and youngster Rohit Sharma offering wonderful support, India made 242 for six in 45.5 overs in reply to the home side's 239 for eight. This gives the visitors a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three finals.
Tendulkar shared in a 123-run stand for the fourth wicket with Rohit Sharma, who went for 66 immediately after the former completed his ton.
The master blaster brought up his hundred with an easy single off James Hopes, having faced only 106 deliveries and hit eight boundaries.
The Australians were always in trouble after they had to settle for a modest total following a batting collapse.
Earlier, Australia scored 239 for 8 in 50 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.
Mathew Hayden looked like a man on a mission after his war of words with Harbhajan Singh in the days before the first of the best-of-three finals.
Andrew Symonds and Mathew Hayden struck a 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket in just 17.2 overs, but Symonds' dismissal gave the much-needed respite to the Indians.
Adam Gilchrist (7), Ricky Ponting (1) and Michael Clarke (4) - all fell cheaply as Australia struggled at 29 for 3 from seven overs.
Initially, Hayden was at his aggressive best and raced past the 6,000-run mark in one-day internationals as he got off the mark with a boundary straight down the ground.
Symonds, who steadied the ship with Hayden, was by dismissed Harbhajan Singh for 31 at midwicket.
Harbhajan had been struggling to get his line and pace right before that dismissal, but his confidence surged once he had a wicket and the rest of his spell was impressive as he finished with 2 for 38.
Praveen Kumar bagged the second wicket in his opening spell when Australia captain Ricky Ponting played on for one. Ishant Sharma dismissed Michael Clarke for four, caught by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Replays suggested that the batsmen had missed the ball.
India sprung a selection surprise, naming leg-spinner Chawla for his first match of the series at the expense of pace bowler Munaf Patel.
Australia recalled Hayden after he was rested in Friday's match against Sri Lanka, with Brad Haddin and the unlucky Stuart Clark missing out again for the home side.
Never in the 30-year-old history of the triangular series have Indians managed even a solitary win in the finals against the hosts.
India's three previous experiences -- in 1985-86, 1991-92 and 2003-04 -- had resulted in straight drubbings but Australia's slipshod form this season promises a turn for the better for the Indians.
Ishant Sharma had 1 for 32 from eight overs, but was forced from the field by an apparent hand injury.
Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, James Hopes, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Bracken.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma.