Root and Eoin Morgan’s unbroken third-wicket stand at Headingley was worth 186 – the former reaching three figures as he did at Lord’s on Saturday – as the top-ranked ODI side chased down 257 to record a timely series win ahead of next summer’s World Cup on home soil.
This decider was being viewed as a dress rehearsal for the knockout phase of that tournament and England produced a strong showing having initially restricted the tourists to 256 for eight.
Yorkshire duo David Willey and Adil Rashid claimed three wickets apiece on their home ground, with the latter providing the day’s highlight from a viciously spinning delivery that bowled Virat Kohli to stun India’s captain.
Faced with a clearly attainable target thanks to the bowlers’ efforts, Root and Morgan operated with serenity by making respective unbeaten scores of 100 and 88 to see England to 260 for two with 33 balls remaining.
They were aided by the opening pair’s rapid start too. Jonny Bairstow’s 30 from 13 balls included seven fours and the recalled James Vince contributed 27 only to be run out in his first ODI appearance for almost two years.
Vince, in due to Jason Roy’s injury, will have felt he missed his opportunity, having been slow to respond to Root’s call for a single as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s sharp reactions produce a run out that left England 74 for two.
Yet their efforts allowed Root and Morgan to be diligent against spin, with India’s tricky left-armer Kuldeep Yadav nullified after taking nine wickets in the previous two games.
India’s day was epitomised by Root surviving a stumping shout on 69, not due to him being safely in his crease but because bowler Yuzvendra Chahal was guilty of a front-foot no ball, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar then shelling a simple chance to send Morgan back.
It looked like the balance of the English duo’s partnership would mean that neither made three figures but Root got there with a victory-clinching four.
As had been the case at Lord’s, Morgan’s decision upon winning the toss had been curious. This time he inserted the tourists on a pitch that looked like benefiting Kuldeep and Co later on.
Yet England’s seamers produced a stingy start as India made only 32 from the first powerplay, during which time Rohit Sharma flicked a Willey delivery to Mark Wood on the leg-side fence.
That accounted for one of India’s three dangerman at the top of their order but fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli had looked comfortable until a 71-run partnership was broken by Ben Stokes’ brilliance.
Kohli had sent his partner back to the non-striker’s end, yet Dhawan would be short of his crease, and six shy of a half-century, when Stokes scuttled round from square leg and struck with a direct hit.
Dinesh Karthik (21) dragged on to become Rashid’s first victim but the biggest of all was to come when the Bradford-born leg-spinner produced a ball that left Kohli astonished.
A delivery that pitched in line with leg ripped back into Kohli’s off stump and the India captain stared at the surface in disbelief before walking off having posted 71.
Suresh Raina was out later that over when edging to Root at leg slip and India were six down before reaching 200 after Hadik Pandya nicked Wood behind following a run-a-ball 21.
Hopes of recovering to post a big total hinged on Dhoni but, having come under fire for his pedestrian pace at Lord’s, his 42 from 66 balls was equally perplexing.
Indeed, it was left to Shardul Thakur (22 not out) to hit the innings’ only two maximums in the penultimate over as India posted a score that never really looked like being enough.