Usman Khawaja’s maiden ODI hundred and a fine spell of spin bowling from Adam Zampa saw Australia beat India by 32 runs to keep the five-match series alive.
Australia went into the third game 2-0 down but they halved that deficit following an excellent all-round performance as India failed to reach their 314-run target.
Khawaja had been unable to build on solid starts in the first two matches but he kicked on this time, working the ball on both sides of the wicket on his way to three figures.
He was ably assisted by captain Aaron Finch (93), Glenn Maxwell (47) and Marcus Stoinis (31 not out), but their 313-5 looked like being below par when Virat Kohli began to fire.
After a shaky start to their reply, India got ahead of the run-rate thanks to the ever-reliable Kohli – who recorded his second successive century in the series.
It was in vain, though, as he again fell to Zampa and Australia held on to secure a narrow win, giving them hope of winning the series in the final two matches.
Australia stay in the series with victory in Ranchi!
India are dismissed for 281, Zampa, Richardson and Cummins starring with three wickets each after Usman Khawaja’s maiden ODI century helped set up a 32 run win!#INDvAUS scorecard https://t.co/xhuelaz27S pic.twitter.com/MzUkLZosPi
— ICC (@ICC) March 8, 2019
Finch and Khawaja immediately made Kohli rue his decision to put Australia in as they set about the India bowlers, the pair sharing a 193-run stand for the opening wicket.
While Khawaja employed a mixture of nurdling and big hitting, Finch was not waiting around, the long-on boundary proving a particular favourite for the skipper.
A century looked inevitable but he was trapped lbw by Kuldeep Yadav seven runs short, however Khawaja had no such problems reaching the milestone and he reached 100 with a clip off his hips.
Maxwell picked up where Finch left off and even hit the sightscreen with one huge maximum.
Stoinis and Alex Carey (21no) lifted Australia above 300 and the early wickets of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan looked to have given them the upper hand.
However, Kohli’s presence quickly wrestled the advantage back for the hosts as he crashed 16 boundaries and one six, and posted a 41st ODI hundred – moving him eight behind record-holder Sachin Tendulkar.
Back to back centuries for the Run Machine. This is his 41st ODI
Live – https://t.co/DQCJoMdrym #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/M0lI93P5Q5
— BCCI (@BCCI) March 8, 2019
Zampa took plenty of punishment from the skipper but he had the last laugh, dismissing Kohli for the third time in five matches with a googly.
India were only 94 behind when Kohli departed in the 38th over but the lower order were unable to get them over the line as they were bowled out for 281 with 10 balls remaining.