Australia will be pinning their hopes on US Open champion and world number one Lleyton Hewitt to save them from complete Davis Cup humiliation. After crashing out 3-0 to Argentina in their World Group first-round clash in Buenos Aires, the finalists in the last three years now face a playoff to avoid being relegated from the elite section. The Aussies, without Hewitt as well as Mark Philippoussis and Pat Rafter, were made to pay for having such a weak team against the World Group newcomers. Guillermo Canas and Lucas Arnold gave Argentina an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the tie when they edged out Todd Woodbridge and Wayne Arthurs 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 10-8 after three hours and 57 minutes of a tension-filled doubles encounter. The defeat leaves Australia facing a daunting playoff in September. 'It's a little bit of pressure. You definitely do not want to go out of the World Group so we'll have some pressure,' said Australian captain John Fitzgerald. 'But we'd like to think Lleyton would be ready again and I think we can take some positive thoughts from this tie.' Argentina captain Alejandro Gattiker believes his team can go a long way in this year's competition. 'I know it's not going to be easy but we are confident of going further,' he said. 'We are very competitive.' It was the first time in the history of the competition that Argentina had beaten Australia. The doubles was held up by rain showers and finally went ahead with a persistent drizzle making play difficult. The Australian pair got off to the better start, pocketing the opening set. But with Arthurs struggling with his service, the home team struck back to take a two sets to one lead. In the fourth set both Arnold and Canas lost their serves as the Australians struck back to level at two sets all. The deciding set could have gone either way as it went the distance. But at 9-8, the Argentinians moved to three match points on the Arthurs serve. The visitors saved the first, but Arthurs netted on the second to end the tie. 'This has been the greatest day of my life,' said Arnold. Canas had worn down Scott Draper 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 in an epic opening singles before Gaston Gaudio flattened Andrew Ilie 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.