Kohli struck his 41st ODI ton but it wasn’t enough as Australia’s total off 313-5 proved to be too big a mountain to climb for India.
India were ultimately bowled out for 281 with Australia keeping the five-match series alive at 1-2.
“We will have a few changes in the next couple of games, but the idea is to tell the boys to put in match-winning performances, and the boys will be looking to be in top form before the flight to England,” Kohli stated at the post-match presentation.
The India skipper won the toss and chose to bowl first at Ranchi in anticipation of some late evening dew. However, that decision backfired for Kohli with Australia’s openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja putting on a 193-run stand.
Admitting his mistake, Kohli said, “We were optimistic, we were told there’ll be dew at 7:30pm, but there’s been none of that! So I got that wrong, I guess.”
A top-order stumble on Friday saw India reduced to 27-3 before Kohli forged brief partnerships with MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav to bring the hosts back into the game.
The 30-year-old looked to be single-handedly dragging India towards victory after bringing up his century off just 85 balls but he fell on 123 to Adam Zampa for the second time in the series to extinguish all hopes.
“In terms of hitting the balls well, it was one of my finest innings, and even when we were three-down, I thought I had to play my game, the style that has gotten me to this level. But, I was disappointed getting out when the difference between balls and runs were only 20,” Kohli rued.
The India star now trails the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI ton tally by just eight and looks poised to overtake him in the near future.
Armed with a 2-1 lead in the series, Kohli and India will aim to apply the finishing touch when they take on Australia in the fourth ODI at Mohali on Sunday.
With Kohli promising changes, the likes of KL Rahul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal could get a look in during the fourth and fifth ODIs.
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