The Kent spinner, 30, captured the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina – all of whom were well set before Jade Dernbach chipped in with two wickets at the end.
Earlier, Ian Bell (85) and Alastair Cook (75) laid the platform for the fireworks of Kevin Pietersen and company before Tredwell’s 10 overs for 44 runs. He picked up four wickets – his best figures in an England shirt – to carry the tourists over the line.
England’s opening pair of Cook and Bell started gloriously, bringing up the 50 inside ten overs, with the Warwickshire batsman reaching his 24th ODI half-century in the 16th over without even breaking sweat.
A sumptuous six typified why Bell is often considered England’s classiest batsmen. Giving himself a little room, he hoisted Ravindra Jadeja over the rope to take his score to 46 before bringing up his fifty off the following over from the left-arm spinner.
With an average first-innings total of 303 at the SCA stadium, England knew they would have get well-over par to trouble India.
But they would have to do it without Bell, who ran himself out on 85, with the score on 158.
Swooping round at short-fine leg, Rahane scored a direct hit. Bell clearly had done his job of building a platform for Pietersen and Eoin Morgan but critics will once again point to a disappointing conversion rate in ODIs – which now reads 24 fifties but only two hundreds.
And as so often in cricket, the old adage: ‘one wicket brings two’ came true, with Cook falling 12 balls later, caught for 75 by the same fielder Rahane at short fine-leg.
Maximums from both Pietersen and then Morgan helped England to a healthy 232-2 with ten overs to go.
But with the pair in full flow, England suffered another double blow. Morgan sliced the ball back to bowler Dinda for a catch.
After a brief interlude as the catch was referred upstairs, Morgan was sent on his way for a robust 41 and with just six overs left, England lost Pietersen for 44 caught at long-off.
Samit Patel (44) and Craig Kieswetter (24), showed maturity though to carry their side to 325-4, hitting 38 off the final two overs.
With the fielding restrictions relaxed, Cook brought on off-spin from both ends, dragging Gambhir and Rahane back and showing that perhaps containment over attack was the order of the day.
The captain’s decision to turn to slow bowling was rewarded when Rahane chipped the ball on 47 to Dernbach in the deep off Tredwell in the 17th over before Gambhir, on 52, lobbed to Bell at short-midwicket.
England were on 103-0 at the same stage after 19 overs but India – with two new batsmen at the crease – were on the back-foot again in front of a 28,000 capacity home crowd.
India were three down, six overs later, on 138 having been 96 for no wicket. Kohli’s wild swipe was caught behind off Bresnan, who was ably supporting the fantastic work of Root and Tredwell with a vital wicket.
Yuvraj notched his 50th ODI half-century off 39 balls to keep India in touch before Tredwell had the Chandigarh-born batsman caught at short fine-leg by the hapless Dernbach – a needed breakthrough with the spinner having so few allotted balls left.
But if England were to win they would have to make another breakthrough with Dhoni – the expert finisher – now at the crease.
The newly named Kent captain capped off a memorable display collecting his fourth wicket when Raina (50) was caught and bowled with the score on 243 – 82 runs from victory.
Dhoni smashed four quick sixes to keep his side on track before a rare miss-hit off a Dernbach leg-cutter allowed Root to take a smart catch in the deep.
The Surrey bowler had endured a difficult afternoon, failing to get his radar right but had nonetheless come up with the goods when it mattered. The delight was there for all to see as charged off to fine-leg with his characteristically exuberant celebration.
Confidence was surging through the paceman’s tattooed limbs as he then disposed of Jadeja, who played onto his stumps.
Finn snared Ashwin for 13 caught by Kieswetter, who had exemplary game keeping wicket and a swashbuckling 24 earlier on.
Bresnan ended any hopes Dinda had of being India’s match winner by bowling the tailender with a yorker leaving India stranded ten runs off victory.
MORE: The latest football news
MORE: The latest tennis news
BIOGRAPHY: Marcus Rashford