Leeds: Sourav Ganguly made his 300th ODI memorable as India broke their losing streak with a morale-boosting 38-run victory on Duckworth-Lewis method to keep their hopes alive in the seven-match series on Sunday.
Sachin Tendulkar (71) at the top and Yuvraj Singh (72) in the middle-order led a perfect batting performance with aggressive half-centuries as India put up a commanding 324 for 6 in the rain-curtailed match at Headingley.
The inclement weather made things even worse for England as the target was revised to 311 in 45 overs after successive rain-interruptions.
Indiaís surprising bowling hero, however, was Sourav Ganguly who, after making a well paced 59 at the top, picked the two vital wickets of Matt Prior and Ian Bell to put the skids on Englandís scoring.
After being reduced to 104 for 4 in the 16th over, when players went off the field after the second of three stoppages, England were always lagging behind the par score on the D-L chart.
And so, despite a fighting 91 not out from skipper Paul Collingwood, England ended up with 242 for 8 in 39 overs, well below the required 280, when the rains forced a third and final halt to proceedings.
England still lead the series 3-2 and the teams move to London where they play the last two matches, at the Oval (Wednesday) and Lordís (Saturday).
Earlier, Sachin hit a 59-ball 71 and shared a 116-run opening stand with Sourav while Yuvraj struck a hurricane 72.
Gautam Gambhir came up with a valuable 51 at No. 3 and featured in a useful 94-run stand with Yuvraj.
Both Sachin, who struck 13 fours, and Sourav overcame a slow start to flay the England bowlers to all parts of the field.
Man of the Match Sourav changed gears smoothly as he smashed seven fours and two sixes in his 79-ball innings. The duoís 118-ball association was their 19th century stand for the first wicket.
Overall this was the 24th century stand between the seasoned pros and it gave their team a rollicking start.
Yuvraj, with 10 fours and two sixes, then piled on the misery for England with a sizzling knock.
Gambhir thrived on two dropped catches to become the fourth batsman in the innings to record a half-century. Play was interrupted, for the first time in the day, after the 47th over by a steady drizzle.
England rued the absence of Andrew Flintoff, who was ruled out because of a knee injury, while India were lucky to see Zaheer Khan pass hit fitness test after injuring his left ankle in the previous game. Ravid Bopara was injured during the match.
England overcame the early loss of Alastair Cook to make a strong start with Prior (46) and Bell (44) going after the Indian bowlers.
Butter fingers, which had undone them in the previous matches, continued to haunt India as Prior was dropped by Sachin at first slip early in his innings and Bell was put down by Sourav at the same position off the first ball he faced.
The duo was going great guns, England 97 for 1 in just 13 overs, when Sourav struck.
He beat Prior with his swing and Mahendra Singh Dhoni came up with a smart stumping, the first of his six dismissals. The Jharkhand player became the first Indian wicketkeeper to equal the world record of six dismissals in an ODI.
Zaheer then had Kevin Pietersen, caught behind for nought, before Sourav struck his second blow.
The right-arm part-time mediumpacer induced a faint nick from Bell and Dhoni came up with another superb glovework that put England firmly on the back foot. From there on, it was always a tough task for England.
Collingwood continued to wage a lone battle but wickets kept tumbling at the other end.
Dhoni made the most of the situation, adding Owais Shah and Jon Lewis to his list of scalps.