(CNN) -- Tim Cahill scored twice as Australia opened their Asian Cup campaign with a convincing 4-0 win over India in their Group C match in Doha Monday.
South Korea, like Australia one of the favorites to win the tournament, later beat Bahrain 2-1 to join the Socceroos at the head of the standings.
Everton star Cahill opened the scoring in the 11th minute as he netted at the near post after a fine cross from Brett Emerton.
Galatasaray's Harry Kewell doubled the advantage with a fine long-range strike midway through the half, his 14th goal for the Socceroos.
Emerton laid on the third just before halftime with another cross from the right which was met by the head of Brett Holman.
India battled hard to limit their losses, but Cahill added the fourth after the break as he rose well to head home his second from a pinpoint cross by Luke Wilkshire.
It was a convincing start for Holger Osieck's men, who fluffed their opening lines with a goalless draw in their first appearance in the Asia Cup four years ago against Oman.
They also lost to eventual winners Iraq before going out to Japan on penalties in the quarterfinals.
"It was very important to get a good start, to find our rhythm, to get a performance together," Osieck told AFP.
Rank outsiders India, coached by Englishman Bob Houghton, are making their first appearance in the Asian Cup for 27 years and looked out of their depth against an Australia team with several English Premier League regulars.
South Korea were given a stiffer challenge by a battling Bahrain side but a double from Koo Ja-Cheol either side of halftime gave them a comfortable advantage they could have increased.
However, there was a tense finish to the contest as Korea had Kwak Tae-Hwi sent off after bringing down Abdulla Al-Dakeel inside the penalty area.
Faouzi Aaish netted from the spot and the match ended with the 10-man Koreans under pressure before securing three points and revenge for a defeat to Bahrain in the 2007 competition.