England completely lost their way after Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan had helped England recover from the early departure of two openers, with their lower middle order failing to impress and the hosts ending up with 136/9 at the end of 20 overs.
England's two best ODI players came to the fore after the two openers could not even last the first three overs of the one-off T20 international between England and Sri Lanka.
Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan unraveled an impressive array of cross- batted and straight-batted shots to keep England in the hunt for a respectable score.
Earlier, On cloudy and overcast conditions at the County Ground, England won the toss and decided to bowl first. Hot-on form Ian Bell does not feature in the playing eleven for England with Ravi Bopara taking his place.
Buoyed by the return of Malinga and their recent run to the World Cup final, which included a 10-wicket hammering of England in the quarterfinals, the tourists will be a different proposition in the shorter formats.
They could also have captain Tillakaratne Dilshan back from a broken thumb that caused him to miss the drawn third Test in Southampton.
Veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya's brief comeback for the Twenty20 international and first game of a five-match one-day series will also add an interesting subplot.
England has won its last five Test series and has an eye on No. 1 spot in the rankings ahead of the four-match series against India later this summer.
Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews missed the Test series with a leg injury but is back fit, making 81 against Worcestershire. The balance he provides will greatly benefit the tourists, as will the possible return of Dilshan.