England have ended their long wait for a one-day international win in India with an entertaining nine-run victory.
Ian Bell (85), captain Alastair Cook (75) and a 20-ball 44 from Samit Patel guided England to 325-4 after they elected to bat first in the series opener at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Despite each of India's top six making starts, they fell nine runs short in their chase with England off-spinner and man-of-the-match James Tredwell impressing with 4-44 from his 10 overs.
It marked an undermanned England's first win in 14 ODIs in India and means the hosts need to record victories in each of the remaining four matches to claim the number one ranking.
After Cook chose to bat on a hard and dry pitch in Rajkot, he and Bell set the platform for England with a 158-run opening stand.
India's bowlers were unable to trouble the openers, who contributed to the first wicket with a run out in the 28th over.
Bell, who had struck nine fours and a six, was caught well short as he tried to scamper through for a single after Cook turned a Suresh Raina delivery to Ajinkya Rahane at short fine leg.
Cook was caught by Rahane in the same position not long after, leaving Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan to start their partnership.
The duo combined for a 76-run stand off 65 balls, lifting the run rate before both fell to Ashok Dinda (2-53 off eight overs).
Pietersen's departure brought Patel to the crease and the all-rounder - along with Craig Kieswetter - helped England smash 38 runs off the last two overs.
India were cruising at 66-0 after 10 overs of their chase before Tredwell made the breakthrough, removing Rahane for 47.
The off-spinner made it two wickets in as many overs with the big scalp of Gautam Gambhir, who picked out Bell at mid-wicket and was gone for a run-a-ball 52.
Virat Kohli departed for 15 and Yuvraj Singh (61) lobbed a catch to Jade Dernbach at short fine leg as the required run rate continued to rise.
With Raina and captain MS Dhoni at the crease, the hosts were a chance - only for the former to spoon a return catch to Tredwell when on 50.
Dhoni (32) was also unable to go on as the wickets continued to tumble for India, who finished nine down as Tim Bresnan (2-67), Dernbach (2-69) and Steven Finn (1-63) also took scalps.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 12 January, 2013 8:41AM AEST