Mithali Raj's team batted first and England would most likely have been satisfied at the innings break, having bowled India out for 202 but in reply the chase proved too much.
When Heather Knight and Nat Sciver came together to put on 73 for the fourth wicket things were again looking optimistic for England but after Sciver was run-out backing up at the non-striker's end they lost seven wickets for 25 runs.
It was a frustrating day for Knight and her England teammates who performed well for much of the game for no reward.
Despite the defeat, there were positives to find in the bowling display - particularly from Georgia Elwiss and Sophie Ecclestone - while Alex Hartley enjoyed a tidy return to the international fold.
Knight herself and Sciver demonstrated that runs could be found, even on a wearing track, and England will hope to take those lessons into the second ODI on Monday.
"It's very frustrating and it's obviously not the ideal start to the series. We need to reflect on our performance and come back with on Monday with renewed application and clear plans.
"We were confident at the half-way stage that 202 was chase-able and when we had a partnership going with myself and Nat we felt reasonably well-placed to go on and do the job.
"It wasn't to be but we're still in the series and we've made quite a habit of coming back into series after going 1-0 down. We did it in the World Cup in 2017 and we did it against South Africa last summer.
"We're proud of the resilience in this side and we'll need to display that as the series progresses."
© Cricket World 2019