Virat Kohli's miserable run against Josh Hazlewood continued on Wednesday, but the Indian captain laughed last as his side avoided a first whitewash on Australian soil in two decades.
India recovered from Hazlewood's fourth-straight dismissal of Kohli in ODI cricket to post a fast-finishing 5-302, while Australia fell for 289 in reply despite a late flurry from Glenn Maxwell which threatened to produce an unlikely win.
Maxwell's 59 off 38 balls included an 108-metre maximum onto the Bob Hawke stand over mid wicket, but when he was bowled by Jasprit Bumrah, Australia's hopes were dashed.
Earlier on Aussie captain Aaron Finch plundered 75 on a typically high-scoring Manuka Oval in front of 5144 fans, but was unable to cash in for a third ODI century at the venue.
Steve Smith only managed seven, after scoring back-to-back hundreds which earned him player of the series honours.
The result meant the tourists ignited some desperately needed momentum ahead of the three-match T20 series, starting in Canberra on Friday, and suggested this Test summer would be far from one-sided.
Australia made three changes from Sunday's winning team that clinched the ODI series win.
Boom West Australian all rounder Cameron Green debuted in place of the injured David Warner, while Ashton Agar and Sean Abbott returned to the side - the latter playing his second 50-over match for Australia more than six years after his first.
Agar fared best of the new players, claiming two wickets and producing a run-a-ball 28, but will likely have scans on his left calf which had to be heavily strapped late in the contest.
The rejigged Aussies were on top early, with Hazlewood's dismissal of under-fire Kohli for 63, reducing India to 5-152. The Decision Review System was called into order, and Snicko discovered the captain had feathered the faintest of edges through to Alex Carey.
This was Kohli's 60th half century in ODIs, and his second this series without converting to three figures. Indian fans and media alike have vented criticism towards the captain, following the tourists' early summer showing.
The captain ends 2020 without an ODI ton in a calendar year for the first time since 2008. He has played in nine ODI fixtures now in 2020, either side of international cricket's COVID-19 shutdown.
Kohli is expected to play in all three T20 internationals, starting at Manuka Oval on Friday, and the Adelaide Test before returning home for the birth of his first child who is due in January.
Despite his latest dismissal to Hazlewood, the fiery skipper ensured a baptism of fire for Green who bowled four overs on his debut.
His first four balls to Kohli were treated with respect until the Indian batting maestro released the shackles and pulled the ball brutally to the square leg boundary. The following ball was disdainfully dispatched through mid wicket.
It was a fairly inauspicious start for Green who made 21 with the bat without ever quite finding his feet, although there was a slog sweep off Jadeja that cleared the boundary which offered a potential glimpse into Australia's middle-order future.
India also tinkered with their previously out-of-form side for the dead rubber.
Shubman Gill came in for Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order. Thangarasu Natarajan made his debut, while Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav were also named for Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini and Yuvzendra Chahal.
And they struggled to make serious headway against the Australian attack until Kohli was dismissed, which brought Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya together.
The pair blasted an unbeaten sixth-wicket stand of 150, which included 76 runs off the last five overs.
Pandya's 92 not out was his highest ODI score, while 31-year-old Jadeja showed plenty of fight producing an unbeaten 66 off 50 balls.
INDIA 5-302 (Pandya 92*, Jadeja 66*, Kohli 63) def Australia 289 (Finch 75, Maxwell 59)