The Eden park at Auckland had almost slept when MS Dhoni was dismissed chasing New Zealand's 314 after scoring fifty, but R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja woke New Zealand back up with a rude shock by launching a brilliant counter-attack to score 130 runs in the last 14.2 overs to tie the game and keep New Zealand from taking a series winning lead in the five-match series.
New Zealand went into the third ODI leading the series 2-0 and Corey Anderson's career best 5 for 63 almost won it for them against the world champions until Dhoni (50), Ashwin (65 off 46) and Jadeja (66* off 45) helped India match New Zealand's 314 all out with 314 for 9 at the end of 100 overs, following another top-order collapse.
India went into the last over of their chase needing 18 to win with the last-wicket pair of Jadeja and Aaron on the crease, and Jadeja managed to score 17 off Anderson's last over to tie the match with a single off the last ball.
Chasing 315 to win, Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma got the team off to a quick start as they brought up the Indian fifty in 7.4 overs. Dhawan hit a six and four fours in his 25-ball 28 before falling to Anderson.
Anderson took his second wicket when he had Sharma caught by Hamish Bennett at third man for 39. Bennett then gave Kiwis a massive breakthrough when he had Virat Kohli caught behind by Ronchi for just 6. It only got worse for India as Ajinkya Rahane (3) got a little tickle to Ronchi down the leg-side to leave India at 79 for 4.
Suresh Raina and Dhoni then started India's recovery and were looking good before Tim Southee forced an edge off Raina and he walked back to the pavilion for 31. Dhoni continued to battle and got to his half-century with a massive six down the ground. The next ball he pulled to Southee in the deep and India's chase looked almost over with a superb boundary catch.
Ashwin, who was promoted up the order ahead of Jadeja, played a wonderful cameo as he hit NZ bowlers all around the park to bring India back in the match. At the other end, Jadeja joined the party too and the duo brought up 50-run stand between them off just 30 balls.
Ashwin hit his maiden ODI fifty off just 35 balls and his innings of 65 included a six and eight fours. Finally he was out thanks to Martin Guptill, who stepped outside the boundary, but managed to throw it back in time and come back to catch it. Jadeja fought hard with wickets falling at the other end. With eight needed off two, he smashed a six with two to get off the last ball. However, off the last ball, Jadeja could only manage a single.
Earlier, opener Martin Guptill's 111 took New Zealand to a more than competitive 314, which received the final push from bowler Tim Southee, who scored 27 off 23 after a late-order collapse in the death overs.
Guptill and Jesse Ryder (20) made another quick start, as 32 runs came off the first four overs. But the latter again failed to get going after an initial burst, bowled this time by Kumar in the 5th over.
Guptill shared a 153-run stand with Kane Williamson (65) to set the foundation for an imposing total. Corey Anderson walked out to bat at number four, ahead of Ross Taylor, in a bid to make use of the small ground and push the score in the range of 350. But Ashwin bowled him for just 8 runs.
Guptill looked to push the scoring rate further but was finally dismissed by Jadeja. Brendon McCullum played a loose shot and was caught by Ashwin off Aaron, out again for a duck, as the Kiwis lost six wickets for 90 runs. McCullum (1) and Mitchell McClenaghan (3) didn't contribute much, but Southee (27) hit a few lusty blows to take the score past the 300-run mark in the penultimate over.
Jadeja also starred with the ball taking 2 for 47, while Mohammad Shami proved the most expensive in a 10-over spell of 2 for 84. Ashwin; Aaron, who replaced Ishant Sharma; and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a wicket each after Dhoni won the toss and chose to field.'
With inputs from agencies