New Zealand sealed a one-day series win over India by recording a seven-wicket victory on Tuesday, with Ross Taylor scoring an unbeaten 112 to lead the hosts to a seven-wicket win with 11 balls to spare. (Scorecard | Highlights)
Taylor's ninth one-day international century, compiled in 110 balls with 14 boundaries, comfortably steered New Zealand past India's total of 278-5, and gave New Zealand a 3-0 series lead with one game remaining. (Ross Taylor's ninth ODI ton scripts win for Kiwis)
New Zealand has recorded consecutive series victories over the West Indies and India, boosting its hopes of a strong showing in next year's World Cup, which it co-hosts with Australia.
Taylor shared partnerships of 130 with Kane Williamson (60) and an unbroken one with captain Brendon McCullum (49 not out), who hit a six off the first ball of the penultimate over to complete the win.
New Zealand had made a dashing start, racing to 50 in seven overs with 10 fours and a six but the loss of openers Jesse Ryder (35) and Martin Guptill (35) in the space of five balls threatened to derail their run-chase.
Taylor and Williamson consolidated and also saw off spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, who loomed as a major threat on a slow and turning pitch at Seddon Park. Both batsmen have been in rich form this series - Taylor added his century to two half centuries in previous matches while Williamson has made scores of 71, 77, 65 and 60 in his four innings.
After their partnership was ended by a run out with the total on 188-3, McCullum came to the crease under some pressure, having made ducks in his previous two innings. He played some risky strokes but hit four fours and three sixes to quash any prospect of an India fightback.
"It was outstanding, a superb performance again tonight in tough conditions as well," McCullum said. "They were conditions that suited India more so than they suited us.
"When we lost that toss we handed them the opportunity to put a good score on the board. But our bowlers started brilliantly. We probably leaked a few too many runs at the end but overall it was probably a par score.
"We knew we were going to have to bat well and someone was going to have to get a big hundred and we saw it from Ross again."
Earlier, Mahendra Singh Dhoni scored 79 not out in an unbroken 127-run partnership with Jadeja to lift India to 278-5 after they had made a slow start to their innings.
India lost the early wickets of Virat Kohli (2), who was promoted to open, and Ajinkya Rahane (3) and was a meager 28-2 after 10 overs but opener Rohit Sharma stabilized the innings, making a valuable 79.
Dhoni's 73-ball innings contained six fours and three sixes, and Jadeja played an equally important role, making an unbeaten 62 from 54 balls with eight fours and two sixes.
Dhoni and Jadeja cut loose in the closing overs, adding exactly 100 in the final ten overs, including 17 off the last over, but India was ultimately undone by its slow run-rate in the early stages.
"This game again our batsmen struggled but they bowled well," Dhoni said. "They put pressure on the batsmen to play the big shots and at times it didn't pay.
"From that point we were doing the catching up job. Once you've lost a couple of wickets you have to get some kind of a partnership going. Again we lost wickets at the wrong times."
Dhoni was also critical of his pacemen, who failed to find the lengths required on a slow pitch.