Joe Root proves there's no need for him to change

Bopara: Moeen, Rashid built pressure on India (1:01)

Ravi Bopara highlights the performance of England's spin pair in their series-leveling victory over India at Lord's (1:01)

A year to the day until the World Cup final will be played on this very ground, England gained a morale-boosting victory that ensured they will end this series as the No. 1 rated side in ODI cricket.

But this was a performance that holds significance well beyond such rankings or even the result. It showed that England had learned lessons quickly and how they could, on their day, defeat this daunting-looking India side who arguably set the bar in this format of the game. It was, from an England perspective, a hugely encouraging day.

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect was the manner in which Joe Root played. It wasn't so much he demonstrated a return to form - it was only six ODI innings since his last half-century and nine since his last century, after all - but that he showed his value playing in exactly the same way he has played throughout the rest of his career.

So instead of trying to blast his way to success, or attempting to innovate with strokes outside his normal repertoire, he simply played the game situation. He rotated the strike, he deflected and nudged and he ran hard. Only 7.75 percent of his strokes brought a boundary - a lower percentage than any of his last nine ODI hundreds - but, with nobody else passing 53, he showed the value of including a batsman who could rebuild an innings and retain their composure.

Of significance, perhaps, for the Test series and beyond, was that he seemed to read Kuldeep Yadav. Before this match, Kuldeep had dismissed him with two of the three deliveries he had bowled to him in international cricket but here Root hit him for four boundaries including a couple of sweetly-timed cover drives and a late cut from the quicker ball. There will, no doubt, be surfaces that offer Kuldeep more but Root - and England - will take great confidence from this.

"Ultimately you have got to trust your game and your technique," Root said afterwards. "You have got to make sure that you stay strong and trust the stuff you have been doing well for such a long period of time. It was about spending some time out there and trusting the way I play spin. I haven't faced much of his type of bowling but having a few overs under my belt gave me quite a lot of confidence."

It is faintly absurd that Root's selection was any sort of discussion point anyway. He averages in excess of 50 in ODI cricket and, in this innings, drew level with Marcus Trescothick as the scorer of most ODI centuries for England. Both now have 12, but Root averages 13 more and has a slightly higher strike-rate. His place, in this format at least, shouldn't be in much doubt.

It was a good day for Eoin Morgan, too. Not only did he score a half-century, but his decision to bat first upon winning the toss - which seemed oddly negative at the time, hinting at a fear of India's spinners - was fully vindicated.

It wasn't so much that the pitch turned as the day wore on - though there was some assistance - as much as it slowed and rendered timing the ball increasingly difficult. Understanding this - the benefit, perhaps, of playing on his home ground - Morgan didn't introduce his spinners until the 19th over; the latest they have been introduced in ODIs since the Champions Trophy. India managed just one boundary between the 15th and 34th overs and, in the last half-hour, Lord's witnessed the unusual occurrence of a crowd barracking MS Dhoni for slow scoring.

There were other encouraging performances for England. David Willey followed his maiden ODI half-century - a 30-ball effort that provided vital impetus to England's innings - with a decent new-ball spell that showed he could maintain a semblance of control even without any swing. Jos Buttler, meanwhile, clung on to a couple of outstanding catches behind the stumps, Liam Plunkett ended with four wickets as reward for his well-controlled cutters, Adil Rashid with two for his well-controlled leg-spin and Moeen Ali didn't concede a boundary for his first eight overs and claimed the memorable wicket of Virat Kohli. For the spinners to claim 3 for 80 in 20 overs against India was outstanding but, really, wherever you looked, England players were enjoying a fine day.

There are, as ever, caveats. It is almost unthinkable that Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah - both of whom are currently absent due to injury - would have conceded so many runs at the death (England scored 94 from the final 10 overs, largely through Willey) and, had India conceded perhaps 25 fewer, there would have been far less pressure on them in their run chase.

The toss, too, probably proved to be disproportionately important.

But there was a lesson here. And that was, for all their batting firepower, India can be put under pressure if the score is challenging enough. They remain, no doubt, the team to beat in this format of the game. But England will take confidence and knowledge from this victory. The series decider - at Headingley on Tuesday - could be a cracker.