Mohali (AFP): Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed two fours in the final over as India beat England by five wickets on Thursday to take a decisive 3-0 lead in the five-match one-day series.
Young batsman Ajinkya Rahane top-scored with 91 and Gautam Gambhir hit 58 as the world champions surpassed England’s challenging 298-4 with four balls to spare in a thrilling day-night match.
India were struggling at 235-5 in the 42nd over before Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja steered the hosts home with an unbeaten 65-run stand for the sixth wicket.
With 17 needed off the last two overs, the pair took 10 runs in the 49th bowled by Jade Dernbach, before Dhoni smashed the first two balls of the final over from Tim Bresnan for boundaries to clinch victory.
Dhoni returned unbeaten on 35 and Jadeja was on 26 as the new-look Indians, without seven players who won the World Cup final against Sri Lanka in April, took the series.
The tourists, who were thrashed by 126 runs and eight wickets in the previous two games, needed a win to stay afloat in the series.
England began well as an unbeaten 98 from Jonathan Trott inspired a batting revival that helped them post 298-4.
Samit Patel pounded an unbeaten 70 off 43 balls and Kevin Pietersen scored 64 as England’s batting finally came good after skipper Alastair Cook won the toss in the day-night game.
When India batted, Rahane put on 79 for the first wicket with Parthiv Patel and 111 for the second with Gambhir to lift India to a comfortable 190-1 by the 34th over.
England hit back with four wickets for 45 runs as fast bowler Steven Finn removed Gambhir and Rahane, Bresnan dismissed Suresh Raina for zero and Graeme Swann trapped Virat Kohli leg-before for 35.
But Dhoni and Jadeja turned the game around with a match-winning stand in front of 25,000 excited home fans. Earlier, Trott and Pietersen, who came together at 53-2, put on 101 for the third wicket on an even-paced pitch ideal for shot-making.
Trott then added 103 for the unbroken fifth with Patel, who hit two sixes and seven fours as England plundered 91 runs in the last 10 overs.
Trott, who was on 94 at the start of the final over from Vinay Kumar, took three runs from the first two deliveries but managed only a single off the fifth to be denied a fourth one-day hundred.
The fourth one-dayer will be played in Mumbai on Sunday.