Kohli felt under pressure to keep his place
Virat Kohli's match-winning century gave India an unbeatable lead in the series but it also came at an important time for the batsman himself. In compiling 118 against the Australians he amassed more than he had in his past seven innings combined, a run of form that had him looking over his shoulder leading in to this game.
His best effort in the Asia Cup and the triangular series in Sri Lanka was 37 and he was lucky that one of the other middle-order options, Rohit Sharma, had endured a similar lean patch. There will be no doubt over Kohli's position in the team now, after he set up India's successful chase of 292 for 5.
"Honestly, I was struggling to get runs," Kohli said of his recent form. "I had not scored in last six-seven matches. I was under pressure. I was not hitting in the gaps. It was very satisfying and it gives you a lot of confidence when you score chasing under pressure. I will not say my place is cemented. I have to keep performing well in few more chases.
"You try to learn from the mistakes. You tend to fail sometimes. This is part and parcel of the game. You do the basics right and train hard, it pays back. I didn't perform well in last two series. I could not convert my scores into big knocks. There was a struggle for a place."
Kohli's efforts were enough to overshadow the other centurion in the match, Australia's captain Michael Clarke, who set up their big total with an unbeaten 111. It followed a disappointing Test series for Clarke, whose top score in the two Tests was 14, and he said batting first having lost the toss was a challenge.
"I found it quite difficult early," Clarke said. "The wicket was pretty slow and it was quite hard to beat the infield and get boundaries. In conditions and heat like that today it was just about trying to hang in there and we knew if we had wickets in hand we could put on a decent total."
The Australians did just that, through a breathtaking finale from Cameron White, whose unbeaten 89 from 49 balls helped Australia plunder 84 from their last five overs. Clarke described White's effort as "as good an innings as I've seen in one-day international cricket", and despite the loss the captain saw several positive signs.
"I think we do take a lot out of this match," Clarke said. "We're disappointed we didn't get the result we wanted, we obviously wanted to win the game. But I thought Michael Hussey and Cameron White played really well, I thought John Hastings in his first game on debut bowled really well, Clint McKay was fantastic and I see a lot of potential in Mitchell Starc."
Hastings collected 2 for 44 in a promising start to his international career, while the left-arm fast bowler Starc finished with 0 for 51. Although India now cannot lose the series, Australia can still level it 1-1 if they win the third and final game, which will be played in Goa on Sunday.