CHENNAI: Dynamic Indian allrounder Hardik Pandya zeroed in on Australian legspinner Adam Zampa to devastating effect in a match-turning over of the series-opening one- day international.
Australia fell short in their pursuit of a revised target of 164 off 21 overs, losing the rain-affected first one-day international against India in Chennai.
The visitors were in command with India at 5-87 until MS Dhoni and Pandya combined for a match-winning stand of 118.
India's steady recovery exploded in the 37th over of Sunday's match. Pandya slapped a full toss for four before bludgeoning a trifecta of sixes, the second of which took him past 50.
"Obviously at 5-87 it was 70 per cent on Australia's side and a wicket more would have brought it on to the lower-order," Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal said.
"But the way they [Dhoni and Pandya] batted and the momentum that we got from the Zampa over and it carried on. And this wicket 270-80 is a winning total."
The 24-run over swung the innings as Pandya pounced on anything full on his way to 83 off 66 balls.
But it was Zampa who ended Pandya's rampage with a quicker delivery which found the top edge and popped up to third man.
"I guess the message to Zampa as well was to try and bring his length back a little bit," Australia skipper Steve Smith said.
"He was bowling very full and Hardik looked like hitting every one of those for six.
"A soon as he got his length back a little bit and made him go across the ball he got him out."
In reply, The visitors slumped to 4-35 in the eighth over when David Warner nicked Kaldeep Yadav through to MS Dhoni.
Glenn Maxwell tried to launch a rearguard action, but his 39 off 18 balls wasn't enough to save his side from going one-nil down in the five-match series.
With the required run rate in excess of 10 with 11 overs remaining, the hard hitting allrounder kicked into gear by plundering 22 off a Kuldeep Yadav over including three consecutive sixes.
But Maxwell was caught in the deep off Yuzvendra Chahal (3-30) looking to clear the boundary for a sixth time before Marcus Stoinis (three) departed three balls later.
From 6-76 the mountain was too steep to climb and Australia finished 27 runs short at 9-137.
It was a cruel loss given the match was only minutes from being abandoned when play resumed.
Rain started falling shortly after India fought back to post 7-281 off their 50 overs after the Australian bowlers dominated early.
Persistent drizzle abated minutes before the match was due to be abandoned, giving Australia the chance to make a quick dash for victory.
Earlier, West Australian fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile made a dream start to his first international match since June last year with a sensational opening spell in Sunday's series-opener.
The 29-year-old picked up three wickets in 13 balls including the prized scalp of India captain Virat Kohli who was out for a duck to a sensational one-handed Maxwell catch in the gully.
Kohli may have been regretting his decision to bat first under overcast skies as Coulter-Nile made the most of conditions to shape the ball away from the right- handed batsmen.
He had opener Ajinkya Rahane (five) and Manish Pandey (duck), both caught behind and was unlucky not have a fourth wicket when Smith missed a chance to catch Pandya at slip.
Showing no signs of the stress fracture in his back, which has cruelled the last 15 months of his career, Coulter-Nile finished with 3-44 off his 10 overs.
Australia favoured seam in the first match, but it's unclear if they'll change tack for Thursday's match in Kolkata.
Zampa is Australia's first-choice spin option on the tour ahead of bowling allrounder Ashton Agar.
Agar was 12th man in Chennai after taking 4-44 with his left-arm orthodox in the only warm-up match of the tour.
Part-time tweakers and Travis Head weren't used while seamers Stoinis and James Faulkner bowled their full 10 overs.