Sri Lanka, boosted by a fine century from opener Upul Tharanga, beat England by 20 runs in the first one-day international at Lord's on Saturday.
England, set 258 to win after Tharanga's 120 took Sri Lanka to 257-9, rarely threatened once they slumped to 66-4. They ended on 237-9 after pacemen Dilhara Fernando and Lasith Malinga took three wickets each.
Sri Lanka's second-highest score was extras totalling 42 for an England record, beating the 41 yielded against Sri Lanka in Delhi in 1989.
England's batsmen began solidly and their openers took 15 runs off Chaminda Vaas's fourth over with Marcus Trescothick striking two of the three boundaries in the over.
But Fernando replaced Vaas and struck with his first ball when stand-in skipper Andrew Strauss on 12 bottom-edged a pull shot to the wicketkeeper. Fernando struck again in his next over when he bowled Ian Bell for seven.
With big-hitters at the crease in Trescothick and Kevin Pietersen, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene gambled by taking his third and final `power play' in the 15th over.
The England batsmen, behind the run rate, tried to take advantage of the gaps in the field but Pietersen clipped a Malinga delivery to midwicket where Jayawardene took an athletic one-handed catch above his head to remove the danger man for 12.
Paul Collingwood fell lbw without scoring to Fernando in the next over to give Fernando figures of three for 22 at that stage.
The eventual fall of Trescothick, bowled around his legs for 67 by spinner Tillekeratne Dilshan, dented England's victory hopes though all-rounder Jamie Dalrymple, in his second international match, fought impressively for his 67 in 87 balls.
Earlier, Tharanga, 21, was the only Sri Lanka batsman to play with authority, plundering 14 boundaries.
He said: "This was one of my best innings because it was in difficult conditions and against a good pace attack."
England did themselves no favours, sending down 10 wides from the first five overs and 23 in all.
On a brighter note for the home side paceman Steve Harmison took three for 52 in his first England match since March though eight of the wides were down to him.
The next game in the five-match series is on Tuesday. The teams drew the Test series 1-1.