England have their task cut out. As it is, they suffer by comparison, having lost three bilateral series since the 2011-12 season, as well as the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. India lost to England last in the NatWest Series in 2011. The series has already has had a lot of incidents in the fringes, with the BCCI office-bearers being removed by the Supreme Court and Mahendra Singh Dhoni quitting as captain of the ODI and T20I series, handing the mantle over to Virat Kohli. That in itself is enough to make the series that much more noticeable.
Listed below are the bilateral ODI series played by the two countries over the last five years:
NatWest Series (2011), England 3 India 0: That was the last time India lost to England in a bilateral series. The five-match series began with a no-result, followed by three of the next four matches being decided by the Duckworth-Lewis system as rain played a vital role. One of the four games was tied, while England won the other three.
England in India (2011-12) India 5 England 0: India had sweet revenge at home, hammering the visitors 5-0. It was really a no-contest - India's narrowest margin of victory was a five-wicket win at Mohali, managed with four balls to spare.
The victory was largely attributed to some great bowling from Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, with support coming from medium-pacers R. Vinay Kumar and Varun Aaron.
England in India (2012-13) India 3 England 2: This series was much closer on paper, with England throwing down a challenge with a narrow nine-run win in the high-scoring first match at Rajkot.
But India came roaring back with wins at Kochi, Ranchi and Mohali, before the last game at Dharamsala went to the visitors.
India in England (2014) India 3 England 1: Any ambitions England had of reversing the trend were scotched by some fine showing, both with bat and ball, by the visiting Indian team.
After the first match was rained out, India raced away to a 3-0 series win. England had little answer to the Indians' skills till the last match of the series, but that was in any case a dead rubber, India having already hammered home another series win.
England, however, did win the last two matches played between the two countries, beating India twice in the Carlton tri-series in Australia.