Fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile claimed three wickets to help restrict India to 126 for seven in the first Twenty20 international on Sunday.
Coulter-Nile returned figures of 3-26 in his four overs after the tourists elected to field first in Visakhapatnam.
KL Rahul, who returned the side after being sidelined for sexist comments during a controversial TV chat show appearance with Hardik Pandya, hit 50 off 36 balls.
His 55-run second wicket stand with skipper Virat Kohli, who made 24, gave India a brisk start but the hosts lost momentum after losing three quick wickets.
Adam Zampa got Kohli's prized scalp with his leg spin and Coulter-Nile claimed the wicket of Rahul to check India on a tricky pitch.
Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni made an unbeaten 29 to give India a more respectable total in the first of the two matches.
SCORES IN BRIEF
INDIA: 126 for 7 in 20 overs (Rahul 50, Kohli 24, Dhoni 29 not out; Coulter-Nile 3-26)