The world's best Test side failed to reach a target of 301 after being bowled out by the home side, who chose to bat first after winning the toss.
The visitors got off to an encouraging start by claiming their first wicket in the fourth over as Patel was bowled out for eight.
England's Graeme Swann got the second wicket of the match in his first over, forcing Ajinkya Rahane to leave the field with India on 52 runs in the 11th over.
Jade Dernbach, who was handed an incremental contract last week, claimed a wicket for himself while former England captain Kevin Pietersen caught out Virat Kohli.
The home side managed to push on and rack up 236 for five with MS Dhoni claiming his half-century at the crease in the 44th over. After a lacklustre period for England, they brought back some encouragement after Ravinda Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin were run out courtesy of Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn.
India finished the innings on 300 for seven, setting the target of 301 runs for the visiting side to win the first one-day international of the series.
England suffered a blow straight into their innings at the crease when Craig Keiswetter was caught out on just seven runs in the second over, putting England on the back foot.
The visitors clocked up 48 runs until Pietersen was run out by Ashwin's throw from mid-on with just 19 runs under his belt. Jonathan Trott came on to partner captain Alastair Cook in a bid to improve the scoreboard for England.
The pair reached 100 runs with the captain claiming a half-century, but it was short-lived as Cook was caught out by Vinay Kumar on 111. Wickets tumbled in quick succession with Jonathon Trott, Ravi Bopara and Jonny Bairstow victims of India's bowlers.
The home side continued their onslaught of the England's batsman by finishing off the match with the visitors on 174 runs.