Sri Lanka weathered a belligerent knock of 66 from Alex Hales to beat England by nine runs in its first Twenty20
international since winning the world title last month.
Allrounder Thisara Perera smashed 49 off 20 balls to lift the Sri Lankans to 183-7 after being put into bat in a night match at The Oval.
Sri Lanka innings
T Dilshan b Gurney 14
M Perera c Bopara b Jordan 10
K Vithanage c Carberry b Woakes 38
H Thirimanne c Hales b Gurney 40
L Chandimal c Hales b Root 7
A Mathews c Root b Tredwell 13
N Perera run out (Gurney) 49
K Kulasekara not out 9
Total: (7 wickets; 20 overs) 183
Fall of wickets: 1-24 2-24 3-78 4-85 5-122 6-141 7-183
M Carberry c Kulasekara b Mathews 7
A Hales b Malinga 66
I Bell c M Perera b Malinga 13
J Root c Chandimal b Lakmal 5
E Morgan c Lakmal b N Perera 5
J Buttler c Dilshan b Kulasekara 26
R Bopara not out 28
C Jordan b Malinga 5
C Woakes not out 2
Total: (7 wickets; 20 overs) 174
Fall of wickets: 1-9 2-45 3-58 4-85 5-124 6-139 7-158
Perera was named as man of the match with a knock that ultimately put the match out of reach for England.
Like Hales, he hit seven boundaries and two sixes - all in the final five overs of the innings - before getting run out on the last ball, chasing his fifty after crashing a ball into the stumps at the other end of the crease.
Malinga, Sri Lanka's captain in this new era without the retired Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, stopped Hales in his tracks this time by holding his nerve once again at the end of a run chase.
"I really enjoy that period,'' Malinga said. "I really enjoy that pressure situation.''
Just as England was faltering midway through their reply, Hales gave his team hope with a 41-ball salvo that included seven fours and two sixes and revived memories of his brilliant 116 not out against the same opponent at the World Cup in Bangladesh.
However, tight bowling late on by Lasith Malinga (3-28) helped see Sri Lanka home in the first international match of its tour, with England finishing on 174-7.