Australia chasing 296 to take series after Kohli record

MELBOURNE: India's batting mainstay Virat Kohli struck a run-a-ball century to help his team set Australia a 296-run victory target in the third one day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

The 27-year-old right-hander became the fastest to score 7,000-runs in one-dayers, taking five less than the 166 innings South African AB de Villiers needed to reach the mark.

Kohli featured in century stands with Shikhar Dhawan (68) and Ajinkya Rahane (50) to help India post 295-6 in a contest the tourists must win to keep the five-match series alive.

India's failure to defend 300-plus scores in Perth and Brisbane had forced captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to rethink his strategy of batting first but the tourists were denied any such opportunity after Australia captain Steven Smith won the toss and elected to field.

To compound matters for the tourists, the law of average caught up with opener Rohit Sharma who, after centuries in the last two matches, fell for six in the fifth over.

Dhawan, now a Melbourne resident, however batted himself back into form, raising 119 runs with Kohli before shuffling across to expose his leg-stump which was pegged back by a fuller John Hastings delivery.

Kohli found an able ally in Rahane, who notched up his second successive fifty, as the duo added 109 runs to consolidate India's position.

Hastings, who finished with a career-best 4-58, ended Kohli's sparkling knock of 117 that included two sixes and seven boundaries.

Dhoni plundered 23 runs off nine balls but Australia bowled well to restrict them to a sub-300 total in the end.