Arvind Bhat pulled off a stunner and P Kashyap played his heart out but that couldn't save India from succumbing to a 1-4 defeat to Indonesia in their first Group D match of the Thomas Cup finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday.
The Indian women's team, lead by Saina Nehwal, meanwhile, trounced South Africa 5-0.
Kashyap, the highest-ranked Indian singles player, gave his side a stunning start by winning the first game 21-14 against formidable Taufik Hidayat but lost the next two 19-21, 18-21 in a marathon match that last over an hour.
Sanave Thomas and Akshay Dewalkar, however, were thrashed by Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan 11-21, 13-21 in just 21 minutes in the second match.
Arvind brought some smiles back to the Indian camp when he bounced back from a game down to defeat Sony Dwi Kuncoro 19-21, 21-9, 21-0 in a 31-minute battle.
Trailing 1-2, a lot was expected from Rupesh Kumar and V Diju, but they couldn't restore parity and went down 21-14, 13-21, 11-21 to Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan.
In the last singles, Anup Sridhar went down 8-21, 17-21 to Simon Santoso to end a disappointing day for India.
India play Australia in their second Group D match on Tuesday.
World number six Saina spanked Kerry-Lee Harrington 21-8, 21-8 in the first women's singles to put India ahead, and then Aditi Muttatkar and Trupti Murgunde scored convincing wins to hand India unassailable 3-0 lead.
Aditi thrashed Stacey Doubell 21-5, 21-6, while Trupti tamed Jade Morgan 21-10, 21-9 in the second and third singles respectively.
Shruti Kurian and Aparna Balan then got into the act and swept past Stacey Doubell and Kerry-Lee Harrington 21-13, 21-10 in the women's doubles match.
Later, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Poppanna completed the Indian whitewash with a 21-8, 21-12 win over Michelle Edwards and Jade Morgan in the second doubles match.
"It was a very easy day for us. All the matches were easy there was not much of a resistance. The main idea was to test the conditions and get used to the conditions of the stadium and I think it will come handy tomorrow," Jwala said.
"The conditions are OK. I felt there was a little drift here and I found it a little difficult to spot the shuttle but
it was a easy match so didn't matter," she added.