England got their ODI series against India off to a winning start in Rajkot on Friday, claiming victory by nine runs as James Tredwell took four wickets to prevent a successful chase by the hosts.
The visitors amassed a challenging score of 325 for four, and while India often looked on track to chase down the total, the loss of regular wickets proved their downfall as they fell short by reaching 316 for nine in their 50 overs.
England won the toss and chose to bat first on what proved to be a dream of a batting track, as was evident in India's chase too as the score over 300 often didn't feel like it would be enough. The bowlers' economy figures were testament to this.
England openers Ian Bell and Alastair Cook put on 158 together for the first wicket, and they looked very comfortable, hitting regular boundaries off a poor bowling attack. Bell was the first to fall, run out for 85, his third score over 80 in a row on this trip.
Cook continued with Kevin Pietersen by his side and they advanced the score to 172, before the skipper was caught by Ajinkya Rahane off Suresh Raina for 75. Cook's innings was a joy to watch as he scored 11 boundaries and a six.
Pietersen and Eoin Morgan then put on an initially slow partnership, but soon picked up the pace. Morgan was sent in ahead of debutant Joe Root, who also had to watch as Samit Patel and Craig Kieswetter were promoted above him in the quest for big runs.
Morgan made 41 off 38 deliveries, the latter half of his knock much more flashy than the first, and he bagged four boundaries and two sixes. He was caught by Ashok Dinda off his own bowling, after a quick check by the third umpire to confirm the ball had not touched the ground as Dinda fell to the deck.
Pietersen departed soon after for 44, holing out with one big shot too many and caught in the deep by a diving Virat Kohli. Patel and Kieswetter then let rip in the final few overs, smashing 20 off the penultimate to take the score over 300.
Patel showed his talent as he flayed the bowlers around the ground, and Ishant Sharma ended his 10 overs having gone for 86, while the final over off Bhuveneshwar Kumar went for 18. Patel ended on 44 not out off 20 balls, while the keeper had 24 off 20.
Patel's knock then proved to be vital, as India got off to a cracking start and with the top order going well, they looked set to reach the target. Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina each scored half centuries, but their lack of conversion was the reason for their defeat.
TRedwell was the key for England, and although he went at 4.4 to the over in his 10, he took four crucial wickets at regular intervals. He accounted for Rahane, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Raina, and was a deserved man of the match.
India will be disappointed to have faltered on such a flat track, and will be determined to come out swinging in the second ODI in Kochi in four day's time.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda.
England: Alastair Cook (capt), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, James Tredwell, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn