Needing the improbable target from 40 overs to earn a bonus point win at Bellerive and keep their tournament alive, Virat Kohli smashed 133 off 86 balls to lead the Indians to the most extraordinary run-chase witnessed on Australian soil.
Kohli, who hit 16 fours and two sixes, put on 115 with Gautam Gambhir (63 off 64) and 120 with Suresh Raina to blow the Sri Lankan attack away.
In an incredible 35th over, Kohli and Raina took 24 off Sri Lankan pace spearhead Lasith Malinga (1-96) to erase any doubt that India would reach the target within the 40 overs.
The Indians’ next assignment will be the couch on Friday, when they will hope to watch Australia beat the Sri Lankans so they can progress to play the home side in the best-of-three final series.
India may yet salvage something from a horror tour while batting great Sachin Tendulkar, who helped generate the momentum for his side with 39 off 30 balls, may not have yet played his last game in Australia.
Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag (30 off 15) smashed 50 off just 33 balls to have the smattering of Indian fans believing a miracle was possible.
They were right and the 3467 at Bellerive will go home knowing they witnessed something special.
On a drama-filled evening, a power failure that rubbed out one of Bellerive’s light towers, the scoreboard and the Nine Network’s broadcast equipment, delayed play between innings for nearly an hour.
It was India who had looked out of energy earlier though, a lethargic effort in the field allowing Sri Lanka to make 4-320.
Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan cracked an unbeaten 160 from 165 balls and Kumar Sangakkara 105 from 87, the pair putting on a record second-wicket ODI partnership for Sri Lanka of 200.
Their 200 was also the biggest partnership in ODIs at Bellerive, while Dilshan equalled his highest score with the second biggest at the venue after Adam Gilchrist’s 172.
Indian hopes faded when Sehwag spooned an attempted swat to Dilshan at mid-off and, when Tendulkar trudged off to a standing ovation after he was lbw to Malinga, it was 2-86.
Gambhir and Kohli’s 100 partnership came off 94 balls before Gambhir was run out by Lahiru Thirimanne at 3-201.
There was no let-up with Kohli and Suresh Raina putting on 50 in 24 balls and 100 in 45. (AAP)