India's stroke-players and power-hitters were restricted to 170 for four by hard-working England in their ICC World Twenty20 Group A match at the Premadasa Stadium.
After Stuart Broad chose to bowl first under lights in this contest of little tangible consequence for two teams already through to the Super Eight stage, Graeme Swann in particular responded well to prevent India racing away.
Rohit Sharma top-scored with an unbeaten 55 from 33 balls, including five fours and a last-over six over point off the expensive Jade Dernbach, as India threatened to cut loose but never quite did.
They promoted Irfan Pathan to open in place of the rested Virender Sehwag, but the left-hander was undone by Steven Finn's extra pace when he was bowled in only the third over.
Number three Virat Kohli played according to his reputation - brilliantly - in a second-wicket stand of 57 with Gautam Gambhir, until Swann capped a fine spell by having him caught at deep midwicket by Jonny Bairstow for a high-class 40 from 31 balls.
Gambhir was unable to keep up that momentum in his anchor brief as Swann ruled the middle overs. But by the time the opener was caught-behind slogging at Finn for 45 from 38 balls, the springboard was nonetheless still in place for India's cleanest hitters to cash in.
Rohit was already established, and stuck largely to orthodox cricket shots to help set a target which would undoubtedly test England but should certainly not overwhelm their chase.
Broad would have run Rohit out for 32 with a direct hit, one of a clutch of minor fielding misdemeanours from England.
But as India attempted to apply the pressure - to significant, but not devastating, effect - Jos Buttler's wonderful piece of skill and quick thinking on the wide long-on boundary kept another six off the total, and cut short Mahendra Singh Dhoni's accustomed late surge.
Buttler somehow stayed in the field of play as he caught the ball and ferried it to nearby outrider Alex Hales to complete a memorable dismissal - and doubtless boost England morale to boot.