England batsmen impress in ODI
England's batsmen enjoyed a productive day as they posted 325 for four in the first one-day international against India at Rajkot.
After losing both warm-up matches, openers Ian Bell (85) and Alastair Cook (75) calmed any nerves with a carefree stand of 158 - England's highest opening partnership against India.
Kevin Pietersen, playing an ODI for the first time in 11 months after returning from retirement, added 44 and Samit Patel hit a brisk 44 not out at the end - but there was no chance for debutant Joe Root, who was unused at number seven.
While England will be satisfied with their efforts, a benign pitch and pacy outfield mean India were by no means out of it at the mid-point.
Bell got England going with 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. He cut Bhuvneshwar Kumar for four more but the bowler almost had his revenge when he found the edge, only to see the ball fly between wicketkeeper and slip.
That was a rare early win for the bowlers, Cook joining in the fun with three boundaries off Sharma's third over.
Kumar had an lbw shout against Bell turned down and the right-hander cashed in 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.
An unsuccessful one-over experiment with Ashok Dinda helped England pass 50, Cook whipping a 10th boundary of the innings through mid-wicket, before India turned to spin.
England were not perturbed on a pitch unlikely to offer lavish turn and Bell duly dispatched Ravindra Jadeja for a glorious six over extra-cover.
Bell brought up his half-century in 60 balls with a reverse sweep of Jadeja, while Cook looked increasingly fluent at the other end.
Between the start of the 17th over and the end of the 19th the captain faced 13 balls and added 20 runs, including a punched four off Dinda that took England into three figures.
He reached his own 50 at exactly a run-a-ball and hit his first six down the ground with a confident strike off Ravichandran Ashwin.
Dinda was not helping India's cause, with wides and no-balls adding to a total that reached 145 at the halfway mark.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned next to Suresh Raina and, improbably, the occasional bowler had a hand in removing both batsmen.
First Bell was run out for 85 by Ajinkya Rahane after Cook had turned Raina round the corner.
It was a soft way to break what had been a fine stand but an accomplished piece of fielding.
Cook also failed to convert what had seemed an inevitable hundred after top-edging Raina to short fine leg, where Rahane was again waiting.
That double strike brought Pietersen and Eoin Morgan together and the pair were forced to take the batting powerplay despite not being fully set.
It was a productive period for England, who scored 44 runs without further loss in the five-over spell.
That included three boundaries and a straight six for Pietersen, while Morgan found the ropes twice and cleared them once when heaving Sharma into the on-side.
Morgan added a second six when Dinda returned but the seamer responded by clinging on to a tough caught and bowled chance, sending Morgan back for 41.
Dinda also accounted for Pietersen, who lofted to long-off with 44 to his name.
The need for quick runs saw Craig Kieswetter and Patel sent in ahead of Root and the pair did their job with some clean hitting at the close.
They put on an unbeaten 70 in 6.1 overs, Kieswetter (24 not out) hitting two sixes and Patel peppering the boundary on his way to an unbeaten 44 in 20 balls.