A benign pitch and a pacy outfield meant scoring was likely to be high throughout, but Ian Bell and Alastair Cook took advantage of conditions to reach 74 without loss after 15 overs. Bell led the way with an aggressive 48 not out, while Cook reached 24no at the other end.
England had earlier handed an ODI debut to Yorkshire's Joe Root, selected instead of a fifth specialist bowler.
Both England openers were off the mark in the first over, each taking a single off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bell took nine off Ishant Sharma's opening over, steering a short ball down to third man for the first boundary of the day then picking up four overthrows on a quick single.
Bell had a moment of fortune on 15 when he nicked Kumar only for neither wicketkeeper or slip to move before Cook joined in with three boundaries off Sharma's third over.
Kumar appealed strongly for lbw against Bell after finding some much-needed lateral movement but umpire Steve Davis was unmoved and the batsmen celebrated by lashing his fourth boundary through cover two balls later.
The right-hander added 10 more runs from Kumar's next visit, including two clinical boundaries to end the over.
Cook whipped Ashok Dinda beyond midwicket to take England past 50 in the 10th over - with 40 of those in boundaries.
India soon turned to the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, but Bell soon dispatched the latter for a glorious six over extra-cover.
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