A record eighth-wicket partnership between youngsters Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad saw England come back from the jaws of defeat to grab an unlikely three-wicket victory at Old Trafford.
After bowling India out for 212, England expected to comfortably go 3-1 up in the NatWest Series, but they endured a torrid start to their reply as wickets just kept on tumbling.
Heading towards a heavy defeat at 114-7, Broad and Bopara gave a great glimpse of England's future as they put on a record 99-run partnership to grab a thrilling win under the floodlights.
Man-of-the-Match Broad did his day job with the ball as he recorded career-best figures of 4-51 as he and new-ball partner James Anderson again came at India hard.
Sachin Tendulkar, who was a rare victim of Kevin Pietersen's occasional off-spin when he was caught on the boundary by Andrew Flintoff, scored 55 to keep the innings together early on as the tourists slipped to 32-3.
Yuvraj Singh then played a responsible innings of 71 while Zaheer Khan's late dart of 20 helped India get over the 200-mark, but they still looked short of runs when closing on 212.
Along with Broad's four wickets, Anderson again excelled taking 3-38 while Flintoff returned with good effect with 1-31.
It appeared a relatively comfortable target to reach, but England started their run chase in the worst possible fashion as Alastair Cook went for a duck in the first over.
Ajit Agarkar (4-60) then took over and he blitzed the top order by taking four wickets as England stumbled to 35-3, which later became 114-7 when skipper Paul Collingwood was run-out after a mix-up with Bopara.
England seemed to have thrown it away with 99 runs now needed for victory with just three wickets in hand and a 21 and 22-year-old at the crease.
However, Broad has learnt how to use a bat and he showed occasional glimpses of his father's shot-making while his temperament showed coolness way beyond his years.
Bopara has been there before but this time was determined to get over the line, and the young pair showed that England's future looks to be in great hands.
Bopara eventually made 43 while Broad hit the winning runs to finish on a career-best 45 not out as the two compiled a record eighth-wicket partnership for England in one-day internationals, along with a thrilling victory.
The win puts England 3-1 up in the series whilst also inflicting a body blow on India after they looked to be strolling to victory - and Collingwood will lift the trophy if England win again at Headingley on Sunday.