Mohali: James Faulkner smashed Ishant Sharma for 30 runs in the 48th over of the Australian innings, finishing with an unbeaten 64 off just 29 balls to hand the visitors a sensational four-wicket victory over India in the third ODI, giving them a 2-1 lead in the seven-match series.
Australia needed 44 runs in the last three overs when MS Dhoni brought back Ishant into the attack and Faulkner took the paceman to the cleaners from the outset, hitting four sixes and a four, plus a couple more in the over, which sealed the match in the visitors' favour. Adam Voges made a valuable contribution of 76 not out from 88 balls, which was studded with seven fours.
Faulkner's blitz overshadowed Mahendra Singh Dhoni's blazing 139-run innings that propelled India to a challenging 303.
It was a commendable show by the Australians and the Indians paid the price of the lack of quality death bowlers in a high scoring match on a good batting track at the PCA Stadium.
Earlier, Dhoni produced a magnificent late onslaught as he rescued India from a precarious 76 for 4 at one stage to single-handedly take the score to 303 for 9 after the home side were asked to bat. His unbeaten knock came from 121 balls with the help of 12 fours and five sixes. Virat Kohli was the other notable contributor with a 73-ball 68.
But it was not the day for the Indians as Faulkner hit 30 runs in the 48th over by Ishant to turn the match on its head. R Ashwin bowled a very good penultimate over just giving away five runs as Australia needed nine runs from the final over.
Faulkner ended the match in style with a six in the third ball of the final over bowled by Vinay Kumar as Australia reached the target. The two sides now moved to Ranchi for the fourth ODI on October 23.
Australia made a solid start in their run chase with the openers Phil Hughes and Aaron Finch sharing 68 runs in 12.2 overs but seemed to have lost the plot after that.
Pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vinay Kumar and Ishant bowled a tight line and length that squeezed the runs and built pressure on the Australians who were reduced to 88 for 3 in the 20th over.
Captain George Bailey (43) and Voges then stitched a 83-run stand for the fourth wicket before Australia were dealt a blow in the 37th over as they lost two wickets in the same over. Bailey and Glenn Maxwell (3) departed in the space of five balls to leave the visiting side at 174 for 5.
Four balls later, Shikhar Dhawan came up with a gem of a fielding effort as his direct throw led to the run out of Maxwell who was involved in a mixed-up with Voges.
Haddin (24) was out ion the 42nd over and Australia seemed to be heading towards a defeat with the asking rate having shot up 10 an over before Faulkner and Voges saw took them home.
Earlier, Dhoni led from the front by smashing an unbeaten 139 as India recovered from a poor start to post a massive 303 for 9.
The Indian captain was seen as having some sort of discomfort initially after he apparently twisted his ankle in the 14th over while turning for a second run when he was yet to faced a ball. He limped for some time early in his innings but played a blinder of any innings with a late onslaught.
Dhoni rescued India after early jitters as he played a responsible and sensible innings that came off just 121 balls, including 12 fours and five sixes.
The skipper also shared two significant partnerships - putting on a solid 72-run stand for the fifth wicket with Kohli (68) before joining hands with Ashwin (28) to put up 76 runs for the seventh wicket.
For Australia, Mitchell Johnson was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4 for 46.
(With inputs from PTI)