England ended their 13-match losing run against India away from home in ODI’s and took a lead in the five-match series with a nine-run win in Rajkot.
The three lions overcame some nervy moments in field to defend their score of 325-4 and gave Ashley Giles a perfect start to his reign as one-day coach.
Openers Alistair Cook and Ian Bell gave England a flattering start with an opening stand of 158 runs in 27.4 overs.
Bell’s 85 included nine boundaries and one maximum, but his measured innings came to an end when Ajinkiya Rahane ran him out with a direct throw as he tried stealing a single to short fine leg.
Rahane also played an important part in Cook’s dismissal, taking an easy catch when the England skipper top-edged a sweep of Suresh Raina.
Raina quickly sneaked in five overs for only 18 as England’s innings slowed down after a speedy start. But when Eoin Morgan came to the middle to join Kevin Pietersen, the innings soon gained pace as the duo added 76 runs off 65 balls.
Ashoke Dinda ended the well-constructed partnership as he claimed two quick wickets, first brilliantly removing Morgan for 41 with a caught and bowled, then Pietersen fell for a nicely played 44 when Virat Kohli held a diving catch in the deep.
After Pietersen’s dismissal, Samit Patel and Craig Kieswetter launched a brutal attack on the Indian bowlers in the final six overs.
The stand was worth 70 from 31 balls, Kieswetter smashed a couple of breath taking sixes off Ishant Sharma, launching one over cow corner and another over extra cover as he got under the ball clearing the boundary line.
Samit Patel hit a quick fire 44 off 20 too as 38 runs came from the final two overs.
It meant Ishant had a disastrous day with the ball going for 86 from his ten overs. Patel ended the carnage by hammering the ball into the stands beyond extra over, setting India a massive 326 to win.
James Tredwell was the star performer dismissing four victims. Rahane and Gautam Ghambhir fought back by smashing the England seamers all around the ground taking the host to 96 inside 16 overs.
Ghambhir returned to form with a run-a-ball 52, but Tredwell dismissed him and Rahane from successive deliveries, tossing the ball high to have Rahane caught at long off and deceived Ghambhir who spooned straight to short midwicket.
Kohli left early, however, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina provided middle-order impetus to keep India’s hopes alive. The 60 run stand was over when Yuvraj drove back to Jade Dernach off Tredwell, the left-hander’s 61 including one six.
After Raina (50) lost his wicket, the hosts required 82 runs off 50 balls. Despite MS Dhoni belting four sixes in space of three overs it wasn’t enough, as he was caught in the deep for 32 off 25 giving Dernbach a wicket.
He then picked up his second bowling out Ravindra Jadeja in the same over.
India still managed to come close but were left nine runs shorts, as Ishant and Bhuvenshwar Kumar hit a couple of boundaries in the final few overs. James Tredwell bowled tremendously finishing with international-best figures of four for 44.
The victory gives England the momentum heading into the second ODI on Tuesday in Kochi.