India 300 for 5 (Rahane 91) beat England 298 for 4 (Trott 98*, Patel 70*) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
MS Dhoni was India's matchwinner once again, as he marshalled an asking-rate approaching ten an over to seal an unassailable 3-0 series lead in the third ODI at Mohali. With Ravindra Jadeja alongside him, he clubbed Tim Bresnan for consecutive boundaries in the final over of the match to finish unbeaten on 35 from 31 balls, as England's best total of the series - 298 for 4 - proved insufficient to keep the series alive.
It was a sloppy fielding display from England in a match they could and should have won. Their own total had been built on another sheet-anchor performance from Jonathan Trott, who finished unbeaten on 98 from 116 balls, but the point-of-difference innings had been played by Samit Patel, whose career-best 70 from 43 balls enabled England to add 91 runs in their final ten overs. Given the history of chasing at Mohali - only five teams had previously managed it in 19 matches at the venue - their route back into the series was awaiting them.
Instead, they produced a listless defence, with Ajinkya Rahane cruising along to 91 from 104 balls in a second-wicket stand of 111 with Gautam Gambhir. They managed just one wicket in the first 34 overs - a marginal lbw against Parthiv Patel, which broke an opening partnership of 79 - and though they rallied well to claim four wickets in an eight-over spell of dominance, their failure to take their chances cost them dear in the closing stages.
The most culpable man was the wicketkeeper, Craig Kieswetter, who missed an early chance to remove Gambhir on 17, before dropping Virat Kohli off a Jade Dernbach bouncer at a crucial juncture. Kohli had been struggling to impose himself and should have gone for 4 from 12 balls, only for Kieswetter to spill the catch as his elbows hit the turf. Worse was to follow, however, when he trod on the stumps while attempting to run out Jadeja with 12 balls of the match remaining, and 17 runs still needed.
That final error unsettled the under-pressure bowler Dernbach, who had earlier shown his frustration when Tim Bresnan let a four fly through his legs at backward point. He finished his spell with a wide and a no-ball beamer in an over that went for 10 runs, moments after Steven Finn - who had bowled superbly to concede 31 runs from his first nine overs - had been battered for 13 runs in his tenth.
Regardless of England's shortcomings, it was another hugely impressive display from India's batsmen, with Rahane setting the game up superbly with the second half-century of his fledgling career. He picked off six fours in his innings - mostly through deft steers behind square - but the most telling feature of his innings was the ease with which he and Gambhir rotated the strike in the fallow middle overs. England were powerless to react as the gaps in their field were pinched at will, and it wasn't until a rare misjudgement from Gambhir led to an impressive one-handed catch from Kevin Pietersen at cover that they found a foothold in the game.
That wicket was due reward for another probing and pacey spell from Finn, and he doubled his tally three overs later when Rahane's quest for a maiden hundred ended in a leading edge to Alastair Cook at mid-off. Suresh Raina then drilled Bresnan to cover for a third-ball duck to tilt the balance of power firmly in England's direction, and when Kohli was trapped lbw by a sharp turner from Graeme Swann, India had slumped to 235 for 5 with nine overs remaining, and that target of 299 suddenly seemed a long way off. In the end though, Dhoni and Jadeja picked it off with aplomb.
England owed their shot at victory to another solipsistic performance from Trott, whose tempo is immoveable regardless of the format of the game. This was his first significant innings since being named the ICC Cricketer of the Year, and it was a reprisal of the role he had played at the World Cup in March. He picked off eight boundaries after coming to the crease in the fourth over of the innings following the loss of Cook for 3, and was denied his fourth ODI hundred by a sharp piece of fielding at short fine leg, when he paddle-swept the penultimate ball of the innings for a single. Though he missed out on his milestone, the net gain was England's, as Samit Patel blazed Vinay Kumar's final ball of the innings into the long-on stands for six.
The debate will rage about Trott's approach to one-day cricket, but seeing as England collapsed in a heap in the first two matches, the backbone he provided to this performance was self-evident. Both of his major partners - Pietersen, who made 64 from 61 balls, and Patel - thrived on the right to go for their strokes, with Patel instrumental in belting 43 runs from the final 24 deliveries of England's innings. With his place under threat after two inconsequential displays in the early part of the series, this was a timely reminder of his combative qualities, as he was pushed up to No. 6 ahead of Jonny Bairstow.
Pietersen, meanwhile, produced his best one-day innings for many a month. He and Trott came together with England wobbling on 53 for 2, but the pair soon settled into a comfortable accumulative rhythm. Pietersen glanced his second ball through fine leg for four, and later launched a calculated assault on the swing of Praveen Kumar, who was bludgeoned for four fours in consecutive overs. He had a familiar aberration when the left-arm spin of Jadeja entered the attack, and would have run his partner out for 32 had the shy from midwicket been anywhere near Dhoni's gloves. As it transpired, however, it was England's own failure to run out Jadeja later in the game that would prove to be the decisive error.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo