K.L. Rahul continued with his prolific run in the ongoing New Zealand tour as he smashed a brilliant century to help India set a 297-run target for the Black Caps in the third and final ODI at the Bay Oval on Tuesday.
While Rahul top scored with 112, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey made significant contributions of 62 and 42.
Earlier, put into bat, India didn't have a great start as they lost opener Mayank Agarwal in the second over itself. Agarwal, who was unable to score big in the first two ODIs, was once again undone by a peach off a delivery by Kyle Jamieson and was sent back to the pavillion after contributing with just 1.
Skipper Virat Kohli, who came in next, did try to steady India's ship. However, while playing an upper-cut, he was caught at the third man boundary after scoring just 9.
Opener Prithvi Shaw didn't let the fall of wickets get the better of him as he kept scoring boundaries and looked determined to play a big innings. However, just when things looked to be getting India's way, Shaw lost his wicket as he was run-out after scoring 40 off 42 balls.
Rahul and Iyer then came to India's rescue and shared a 100-run stand to bring the visitors back in the game. Both kept the scoreboard ticking and didn't let the pressure get the better of them.
Iyer, who had a 100 and fifty to his name in the first two matches, scored yet another half-century. However, after playing a well-compiled innings of 62, he was caught at mid-wicket by Colin de Grandhomme.
Pandey, who replaced Kedar Jadhav for the dead rubber, came out with positive intent right from the word go and stitched a 112-run partnership off 113 balls as India past the 250-mark.
Rahul, who scored his fourth ODI ton, got out in the 47th over while trying to up the ante and was caught at long-off. Pandey (42 off 48) also got out the very next ball while trying to go for a maximum against Hamish Bennett.
Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini contributed with 8, 7 and 8 towards the end and took India's total to 296/7 at the end of 50 overs.
Bennett was pick of the New Zealand bowlers as he returned with figures of 4/64 from his 10 overs.
Brief scores: India (K.L. Rahul 112, Shreyas Iyer 62; Hamish Bennett 4/64) - IANS