Former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni produced another chasing masterclass with his third consecutive half century as the visitors defeated Australia by 7 wickets in the third and final One-day International at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and registered their first ever bilateral series win Down Under.
Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli had won the toss and elected to bowl in conditions that looked gloomy and overcast.
The home side made 2 changed with the injured Jason Behrendroff and off spinner Nathan Lyon making way for Billy Stanlake and Adam Zampa respectively. The visitors included Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav and Yuzvendra Chahal in place of Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Siraj and left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Australia’s opening pair again failed to provide a solid start, with wicketkeeper Alex Carey the first to fall for 5, was caught by Kohli at second slip off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third over the game.
Aaron Finch’s horror run continued as he was trapped leg before wicket, with Kumar taking his wicket for the third time in as many games as the hosts slipped to 27/2.
Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja steadied the innings by adding 73 runs for the third wicket before Marsh was stumped by MS Dhoni off a wide down the leg-side from Yuzvendra Chahal for 39.
Chahal dealt a double blow to the Aussies hree balls latter when had Khawaja was caught and bowled for 34 runs.
Marcus Stoinis became the spinner’s third victim when he was caught at slip by Rohit Sharma for 10, leaving the home side reeling at 123 for five after 30 overs.
Glenn Maxwell looked good in his 19 ball 26, but his counter-attacking cameo was ended by a brilliant running catch at fine leg by Kumar in the 35th over.
Peter Handscomb and Jhye Richardson offered some resistance by adding 45 runs for the seventh wicket, before the latter was dismissed for 16 by Chahal.
Handscomb was the only Australian batsman to offer some resistance, but his fighting knock was also ended by Chahal, who had him LBW in the 46th over.
Adam Zampa and Billy Stanlake fell in the quest for quick runs as Australia failed to bat out their 50, being bowled out for 230 in 48.4 overs.
Chahal was India’s best bowler as he finished with figures of 6/42, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami bagged 2 wickets each.
Chasing a modest target of 231 runs, India’s opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started slowly, before Peter Siddle gave the much needed breakthrough by getting the former caught at slip by Marsh for 9 runs.
Dhawan and Indian captain Virat Kohli brought India back on track by adding 43 runs for the second wicket before the 33 year old was dismissed caught and bowled off Stoinis for 23 runs.
Kohli then stitched together a 54-run stand with MS Dhoni to bring their team back on track before the former was dismissed by Richardson for 46 leaving India in a bit of trouble at 113 for 3.
Australia were however their own worst enemies, dropping several catches and missing run out opportunities, with Dhoni a major beneficiary.
Veteran Dhoni along with Kedar Jadhav 61 (57)* batted solidly and the pair added an unbeaten 121 run stand for the 4th wicket as India chased down the target with 4 balls to spare.
The former Indian captain scored his third consecutive fifty of the series by remaining unbeaten on 87 runs. This was also India’s first bilateral one day series win in Australian soil.
As he was in Sydney and Adelaide, Jhye Richardson was again Australia’s best bowler at the MCG, with figures of 1/27 in his 10.
Yuzvendra Chahal was declared the player of the match for his superb spell by claiming 6 wickets, while Dhoni was declared the player of the series.