A busy century from Joe Root, an improved display against the spin of Kuldeep Yadav, and a crushing win to set up a decider in Leeds on Tuesday.
For England, the second one-dayer against India at Lord's ticked more boxes than they could have hoped for.
Just as crucially, the result — victory by 86 runs — questioned the narrative which has India's slow bowlers and master batsmen outclassing their hosts in a summer of blue skies and parched pitches.
Yes, England could do with rain. But if they can beat India on a surface such as this — slow, low and www.botcss.com dry — then all is not lost.
Credit to Eoin Morgan, who defied the consensus among ex-pros in the commentary box by choosing to bat — despite India already making mincemeat of three chases.
Joe Root hit a century as England looked to avoid an ODI series defeat against India
Root equaled Marcus Trescothick's record for England ODI hundreds with his knock
David Willey added 50 off just 30 deliveries as England posted 322 at Lord's on Saturday
But the England skipper realised what wasn't evident in the eyrie: the pitch was only going to become more turgid.
So it was that, as India chased 323 — imposing, but not impossible — they couldn't make headway against the spin of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.
Moeen whistled through 10 overs for 42, trapping Virat Kohli en route for 45. And Rashid picked up two for 38, fooling Suresh Raina with his googly and having Umesh Yadav stumped second ball.
MS Dhoni hung around, but with little sense of purpose, bringing boos from the crowd, even as he went past 10,000 ODI runs.
An innings of 37 from 59 balls will not feature in the memoirs. The kindest that could be said was that it felt like a net for Leeds.
The key lines had already been delivered during an England innings built on Root's superb 113 from 116 balls.
He was industrious rather than destructive, but he read the conditions to a T — and he needed his runs as much as England did.
He had averaged just 14 in his previous eight white-ball innings, and lost his place in the Twenty20 team.
His hundred felt like an arm around the shoulder, especially ahead of a landmark five-Test series, when his every cough and splutter will be compared with Kohli.
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