Centurions Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav brutalised England's bowling attack on Sunday as India mounted a masterful run chase to secure a three-wicket victory in the first one-day international in Pune.
Ben Stokes (62) had raced to his team's fastest 50 in India to join Jason Roy (73) and Joe Root (78) as one of three tourists to produce half centuries, England posting an imposing total of 350-7.
But the tight boundary at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium also worked in the hosts' favour, captain Kohli plundering 122 and Jadhav 120.
Having been tasked with pulling off their third biggest ODI run chase on home soil, India were rocking when Shikhar Dhawan sliced David Willey (2-47) straight to Moeen Ali at third man for one, followed by the clean-bowled departure of KL Rahul (8) from the same source.
Kohli began the counterattack with successive fours off the Yorkshire star and Yuvraj Singh (15) followed suit with a six, but Stokes (2-73) broke up their promising partnership when the latter, playing across the line, steered an inside edge down the leg side to Jos Buttler.
India's hopes took another hit when MS Dhoni, playing in his first match since stepping down as limited-overs captain, went down the ground to Jake Ball (3-67) and was fooled by a short delivery, top edging to Willey at mid-wicket for six.
Perhaps overestimating the importance of the veteran's scalp, England were unprepared for the intervention of Jadhav, who nearly outshone his skipper, rocketing to 120 from 76 balls, teeing off with 12 fours and four maximums as the tourists toiled in the field.
The 200-run stand for the fifth wicket finally came to an end when Kohli, having unleashed with eight boundaries and five sixes, including a brilliant short-arm jab off the bottom of the bat to dispatch the hapless Chris Woakes (0-44), tried to pull Stokes and could only top-edge to Willey.
Suffering from cramp, Jadhav followed three overs later, the pull shot also his undoing, Stokes waiting at deep square leg from Ball's delivery.
It was left to Hardik Pandya (40 not out), Ravindra Jadeja (13) and Ravichandran Ashwin (15 not out) to get India over the line, affording the hosts plenty of confidence going into the second match in Cuttack on Thursday.
Earlier, Roy set the tone for the tourists with a half-century off 61 balls, surviving being dropped on 66 before he was eventually stumped by Dhoni off Jadeja an over later.
Root had already inherited his mantle, surpassing the opener to top score in the innings, notching four boundaries and a six in the process. Jasprit Bumrah's slower ball finally wrong-footed the Yorkshireman, Pandya taking an overhead catch at long on.
Eoin Morgan (28), Jos Buttler (31) and Moeen (28) also caused India plenty of problems, but it was Stokes who really hurt Kohli and his team, supplying five sixes and two fours from just 40 balls as India's death bowling proved woefully insufficient, leaving the fireworks of Kohli and Jadhav to bail their colleagues out.