A young India finally broke their prolonged losing streak as they trounced England by 127 runs in a lop-sided first cricket one-dayer here today.
India rode on Dhoni's blistering 87-run knock and Suresh Raina's 55-ball 61 to post a mammoth 330 for seven and then skittled out the visitors for only 174 runs in 36.1 overs Rajiv Gandhi International stadium to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
This was India's first victory after a losing streak of 10 international matches that includes five ODIs (last two ODIs in West Indies), four Tests and one T20 international.
The wicket got slower with passage of time and India's newest spin-twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja tightened the noose on England batsmen sharing six wickets between them.
The margin of victory should come as whiff of fresh air for Dhoni and Co who would now certainly feel upbeat with four ODIs remaining.
Craig Kieswetter (7) was the first to depart when he nicked at an away going delivery from Praveen Kumar. Kevin Pietersen (19) hit three boundaries but Ashwin's direct throw from mid-on found him short of his crease.
Skipper Alastair Cook (60) joined hands with Jonathan Trott (26) and added 71 runs for the third wicket. They didn't score at a very brisk pace but kept decent run-rate going for their team.
It was slow left-arm spin of Jadeja that started the slide. The Saurashtra all-rounder dismissed Cook and Trott within a space of nine runs to effect a middle-order collapse.
While Cook was holed out in the deep mid-wicket trying to give Jadeja the charge, Trott played an uncharacteristic slog sweep, obly to be clean bowled.
The dangerous Ravi Bopara then offered a tame return catch to Ashwin while Jadeja got his third scalp when young Jonathan Bairstow was also dismissed in an identical fashion.
From 111 for two, England slumped to 126 for six and the writing was there on the wall.
Jadeja (3/34) and Ashwin (3/35) had nearly identical figures while Umesh Yadav (2/32) also got a couple in the end.
The day, however, belonged to the India captain who smashed an unbeaten 87 off 70 deliveries on a track where strokemaking wasn't exactly easy.
The last 15 overs yielded a whopping 150 runs as one got a glimpse of vintage Dhoni. The now famous 'Helicopter shot' fetched him plenty of runs as he hit 10 boundaries and a six enroute his 42nd half century in ODIs.
The innings assumes greater significance for Dhoni considering the amount of pressure he was in after England tour.
The hosts were scoring runs at a sedate pace for the first 35 overs partly due to the dual nature of the surface and also some disciplined bowling by the visitors before the duo started the slugfest adding 72 runs for the fifth wicket in only 10 overs.
Once Raina departed, Dhoni took it upon himself to punish the English bowlers who suddenly lacked discipline after bowling well for the better part of the innings.
It was Raina's counter-attack in the mandatory batting Powerplay from 36th to 40th that opened the floodgates as hosts smashed 59 runs in those five overs.
Raina hit his customary aerial shots in the arc between extra cover and mid-wicket while Dhoni also hammered Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan with consumate ease.