Ahmedabad, (Reuters): Rohit Sharma's sparkling 95 was in vain as West Indies beat India by 16 runs in the third One-Day International to stay afloat in the five-match series at Ahmedabad's Sardar Patel Stadium on Monday.
Having dropped Sharma on 33, West Indies skipper Darren Sammy redeemed himself with a direct throw in the 44th over as India, chasing 261 for a third successive win that would have sealed the series, folded for 244 in 46.5 overs.
Sharma's 100-ball knock, which included 10 hits to the fence and a six, was his third successive half-century in the series which his team lead 2-1.
Ravi Rampaul (4-57) derailed India's chase almost as soon as it began by removing the scoreless duo of captain Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir with his first two deliveries.
Sehwag edged to depart caught behind while Gambhir was trapped leg before, leaving India tottering on eight for two wickets.
Barring opener Parthiv Patel (39), none of the Indian top order batsmen could do justice to their reputation and it was Sharma's 91-run seventh-wicket stand with Ravichandran Ashwin (31) that took India near the target.
West Indies were put into bat and Marlon Samuels top-scored with a sedate 58 but it was the unbeaten 79-run stand between Sammy (41 not out) and Andrew Russell (40 not out) off 5.4 overs that helped West Indies to overcome a sluggish start and post 260 for five.
The visitors lost opener Lendl Simmons (1) in the third over and were also denied the service of another in-form player, Darren Bravo (26), when the batsman retired hurt with a hamstring problem.
Samuels tried to steady the innings but the run rate nosedived, prompting him to go after Umesh Yadav in the 19th over, hitting the bowler for a couple of fours and a six.
West Indies lost three cheap wickets to slump to 181 for five in the 45th over before Sammy paired up with Russell to provide the late surge to power them past 250.
Sammy hit Abhimanyu Mithun for two sixes and as many fours in the 49th over, while Russell struck two fours and a six off the final over sent down by Yadav.
West Indies milked 93 runs off the last seven overs and 43 off the last two. Indore hosts the fourth One-dayer on Thursday.