ADELAIDE  - Indian captain M.S. Dhoni again proved the man for the occasion as he lifted his side to an extraordinary win over Australia in their tri-series one-day international in Adelaide on Sunday.

Australia made 269-8 after winning the toss and electing to bat, but India replied with their best ever run chase at the Adelaide Oval to win with two balls to spare. The Indians looked beaten when they needed 13 off the last over and managed just a single from the first two deliveries from paceman Clint McKay, who had been the best of the Australian bowlers.

Dhoni turned down the opportunity of a second run from the second ball of the over, wanting to be on strike. He lived up to his confidence when he hit a massive six down the ground from the next ball to suddenly slash the target in half with three balls remaining.

Dhoni was caught on the mid-wicket boundary from the next ball, but it was called a no-ball for being a full toss above waist high, the Indian batsmen running two and collecting a third run for the sundry. With three balls still remaining, Dhoni flicked the next ball into the leg side for the winning three runs to cap a remarkable comeback and their best performance of a generally disastrous tour.

Dhoni, also the hero with the bat in last year's World Cup final win, had barely taken a risk until the last over as he tried to be the anchor for the late run chase, and finished with 44 not out from 58 balls.

Australian captain Michael Clarke was not surprised Dhoni made his side pay for what he believed was a disappointing effort with bat and ball. "Dhoni is a very good one-day player," he said. "We were 10-20 runs short and the fielding was sloppy."

While Dhoni got India home, opener and man of the match Gautam Gambhir, recalled at the expense of champion Sachin Tendulkar, laid the foundation with 92 from 111 balls. He was unlucky to miss a century as he looked unfortunate to be adjudged leg before wicket to McKay.

Tendulkar was rested under India's rotation policy, denying the 38-year-old another chance to score his long-awaited 100th international century. Gambhir said the Indians always believed in their skipper in tight finishes.

     scoreboard

AUSTRALIA:

D Warner run out    18

R Ponting c Kohli b Vinay Kumar    6

M Clarke b Yadav    38

P Forrest c Vinay Kumar b Yadav    66

D Hussey c Sehwag b Khan    72

D Christian run out    39

M Wade b Vinay Kumar    16

R Harris not out    2

C McKay run out    3

EXTRAS: (lb4, w4, nb1)    9

TOTAL: (8 wkts; 50 overs)    269

FOW: 1-14, 2-53, 3-81, 4-179, 5-235, 6-254, 7-265, 8-269

BOWLING: Khan 10-0-46-1, Vinay Kumar 10-1-58-2, Jadeja 10-0-50-0, Yadav 10-1-49-2, Ashwin 8-0-47-0, Sharma 2-0-15-0

INDIA:

G Gambhir lbw McKay    92

V Sehwag c Hussey b McKay    20

V Kohli c Forrest b McKay    18

R Sharma c Starc b Harris    33

S Raina b Doherty    38

MS Dhoni not out    44

R Jadeja c Ponting b Doherty    12

R Ashwin not out    1

EXTRAS: (lb2, w9, nb1)    12

TOTAL: (6 wkts, 49.4 overs)    270

FOW: 1-52, 2-90, 3-166, 4-178, 5-239, 6-257.

BOWLING: Harris 10-0-57-1, Starc 8-0-49-0, McKay 9.4-1-53-3, Christian 10-0-45-0, Hussey 3-0-13-0, Doherty 9-0-51-2

Toss: Australia

Umpires: Nigel Llong (ENG) and Paul Reiffel (AUS)

TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)