Ponting, Hussey, Cameron White and Tim Paine all posted half-centuries but India's bowlers ensured none of them went on to triple figures. Hussey's confidence was key in ensuring the good start was not wasted and in a typically anonymous, accumulating style he compiled his 73 from 54 balls.
Hussey pierced the field several times for boundaries in the final overs and, while he generally took few risks, an enormous straight six off Praveen Kumar in the penultimate over resulted in a lost ball. In the final over he sent a catch down deep midwicket's throat as Ishant Sharma delivered a brilliant 50th over that brought two wickets for one run.
Adam Voges holed out to deep midwicket off Harbhajan Singh and James Hopes was run out in a horrible mix-up with Hussey.
Ponting also enjoyed facing the spinners and launched Ravindra Jadeja over long-off for a six that was parried over the boundary by Nehra, who slightly misjudged the catch opportunity.
Jadeja eventually had his revenge when Ponting, on 74, played back to a delivery that straightened and was trapped in front of middle stump. For much of his innings Ponting had the assistance of Paine, who kept his position as opener despite the presence of Shaun Marsh in the squad.
Nehra had made the initial breakthrough in the second over, when there was some movement in the air, and he had Shane Watson adjudged lbw for 5.
Earlier, Ponting won the toss and elected to bat. India left out Yuvraj Singh, who is recovering from an injury, besides Munaf Patel, Amit Mishra and Sudeep Tyagi.