CHENNAI, India: Leg-spinner Adam Zampa took four wickets as Australia beat India by 21 runs to clinch the three-match one-day international series 2-1 on Wednesday (Mar 22).
Electing to bat, Australia could not capitalise on a strong start and were bowled out for 269 in 49 overs on a slow track at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Their bowlers, led by Zampa, did an excellent job defending the total and bowled out India for 248 in 49.1 overs as Australia exacted a modicum of revenge after losing the four-test series 2-1.
"It's been an enjoyable tour," said Steve Smith, leading Australia in the absence of Pat Cummins who stayed in Sydney to be with his mother who died this month.
"The spinners bowled beautifully, really good performance."
Zampa was adjudged player-of-the-match but fellow spinner Ashton Agar turned the game on its head by removing Virat Kohli, whose 54 was the highest score by a batsman from either side, and Suryakumar Yadav in successive deliveries.
For the hosts, Hardik Pandya claimed bowling figures of 3-44 and made a run-a-ball 40 but it was not enough to avoid India's first series loss on home soil since Aaron Finch's Australia beat them in 2019.
Australia recalled fit-again David Warner but the in-form Mitchell Marsh combined with Travis Head at the top of their batting order to give the touring side another blazing start.
Australia raced to 68 for no loss and Head, who made 33, got a reprieve after Shubman Gill dropped him at deep square leg.
Pandya removed Head, Smith, and Marsh (47) to peg back Australia.
Batting at number four, Warner made 23 before Kuldeep Yadav wrecked Australia's middle order.
The left-arm unorthodox spinner dismissed Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey (38) but Australia's lower order provided crucial runs even though they could not last their full quota of 50 overs.
India also began briskly with Rohit Sharma (30) and Gill (37) playing a few attractive shots.
Kohli tried to forge partnerships with KL Rahul (32) and with Pandya but he looked tired by the end.
Zampa effectively decided the match by removing Pandya.
India held back Suryakumar, who came in at number seven, promoting Axar Patel as the pinch-hitter but neither ploy worked.
Patel was run out for two and Suryakumar fell for a first-ball duck for the third time in a row.
Rohit rued the lack of big partnerships in the Indian innings.
"You are born and brought up on these wickets. Sometimes you need to apply yourself and give yourself a chance," the opener said.
Marsh won the player-of-the-series award for his 194 runs from three innings.