Virender Sehwag lit up the fifth one-dayer with a scintillating 91 as India thumped England by six wickets to stretch their lead to 5-0 at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Wednesday night.
Chasing a victory target of 271, openers Sehwag (91) and Sachin Tendulkar (50) made it look like a stroll in the park and raised 136 runs in 19-odd overs before a mini collapse rekindled England's hopes of securing that elusive win in the series.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50) and Suresh Raina (53 not out), however, played sensible cricket as the hosts got past the target with 6.2 overs to spare.
Earlier, put in to bat, Kevin Pietersen (111 not out) added 89 runs with Paul Collingwood (40) and another 112 for the unconquered fifth wicket with Owais Shah (66 not out) to guide England to a respectable total of 270 for four wickets.
Sehwag was at his swashbuckling best and it was a bad omen for the visitors when the Delhi opener spanked Steve Harmison for three boundaries in an over.
Tendulkar was not fully quiet either, and despite playing a couple of streaky shots early in his innings, the Mumbaikar found boundaries easy to come by.
Desperate to stem the boundary flow, Pietersen took a gamble and introduced spinner Graeme Swann in the Powerplay, but, with Sehwag in a murderous mood, the ploy boomeranged.
Sehwag went berserk in that highly productive over which went 0,1(wide),4,6,4,4,2 as the batsman cruised to his fifty.
Pietersen naturally didn't delay in taking the battered spinner off the attack.
Tendulkar hit Andrew Flintoff for back-to-back boundaries and a single off Harmison took him to his 90th fifty but the batsman was soon castled by the pacer after his 57-ball 50.
Tendulkar's exit triggered a mini collapse and from 136 for no loss, India suddenly slumped to 156 for three with in-form Yuvraj Singh (6) and Sehwag also back in the hut.
Ravi Bopara caught Yuvraj off his own ball and Stuart Broad then trapped Sehwag even though it was a poor decision by umpire Amish Saheba since the ball pitched outside off-stump and was missing the leg. Sehwag's 73-ball 91 was studded with 15 boundaries and a six.
England suddenly seemed back in the game but Dhoni and Raina played smart cricket to take the match away from them.
Dhoni's 61-ball 50 included five fours, while Raina's 53 came in as many balls.
Earlier, Pietersen led from the front and slammed his first century as ODI captain as England posted a modest 270 for four wickets.
England sent Alastair Cook (11) to open the innings with Ravi Bopara (24) but the opening stand yielded only 33 and it was Pietersen's crucial partnerships with Collingwood and Shah that powered England past the 250-mark.
Pietersen's 128-ball 111 was studded with 10 boundaries and a six, while Shah's unbeaten 66 came off 57 balls with nine fours in it.
For India, Zaheer Khan grabbed two wickets conceding 60 runs in his 10 overs.
Even a change in the opening combination could not do the trick for England and both Cook and Bopara looked tentative as they survived a couple of lbw decisions.
Playing his first match of the series, Cook eventually became Zaheer's first victim in the sixth over when Sachin Tendulkar took a waist-high catch at first slip.
Pietersen joined Bopara in the middle and began to score at a brisk pace. The duo added 35 runs for the second wicket when Zaheer removed Bopara in the 10th over.
Having completed his fifty, Pietersen went after Harbhajan, hitting the off-spinner for a boundary and following it up with a towering six over long-on to complete his 3000 runs in this format of the game.
The duo had raised 89 runs for the third wicket when Collingwood was dismissed by a Harbhajan enticer.
Dhoni's move of replacing Yuvraj with Ishant paid dividends as the lanky pacer dismissed Andrew Flintoff for a duck to reduce England to 158 for four.
Pietersen was then joined in the middle by in-form Shah and the duo milked the Indian attack with consummate ease.