Melbourne: India captain MS Dhoni gave a frank assessment of his team's fourth day collapse to lose the first test against Australia, saying the Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket was benign enough to reel in the victory target.

Chasing 292 to win, India were bundled out for 169 on Thursday after their formidable batting lineup crumbled in the face of a spirited onslaught from pace trio Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus.

"I think they bowled a really good line close to that off-stump area... I think the length and line they bowled was very crucial," Dhoni said after the defeat.

"We thought if we could get them out for 240 or 250-odd runs that's a very gettable score, but I felt 290-odd runs was also a score we should have achieved.

"The wicket was pretty good. It's not like there was too much wear and tear in the wicket. I think our batting line flopped in both the innings.

"In the second innings, we kept falling at regular intervals which meant getting close to 300-odd runs was becoming more and more difficult."

The laid back wicketkeeper-captain mounted a more spirited defence of his bowlers, who managed to bowl Australia out twice after being dogged by injury concerns in the leadup, but also failed to efficiently clean up Australia's tail in both innings.

Rangy 24-year-old paceman Umesh Yadav was impressive in just his third test, taking seven wickets, while Zaheer Kahn also took seven, the left-armer showing he had lost none of his guile after a four-month lay-off from injury.

Paceman Ishant Sharma, who was troubled by an ankle injury prior to the start of the four-match series, bowled a far lighter load in the second innings and only took two wickets, but Dhoni dismissed concerns about his fitness.

"The big positive to win a test match you need to take 20 wickets and we have been able to do that in this particular test match," Dhoni said.

"The scores that the opposition got were something that we could have achieved if we had batted well.

"We are hoping that the mistakes that we committed in this particular game, we work on it and don't repeat it in the next game that starts in Sydney (on January 3)."