Muttiah Muralitharan's late knock proved crucial to Sri Lanka on Thursday as it pulled off a 36-run victory in the first limited-over international against Pakistan, to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Chasing a competitive 233 runs to win, Pakistan was precariously placed on 134-8 when tailenders Umar Gul and Mohammad Aamer shared a stubborn 62-run stand that threatened Sri Lanka's total at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.
The resistance ended when Aamer was run out for 23 and medium pace bowler Lasith Malinga bowled Gul for 33 with a yorker to win the match with five overs to spare.
Gul was Pakistan's top-scorer after a spell in which he faced 21 balls with six boundaries.
Thilan Thushara was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers returning figures of 3-29 while Muralitharan, who came back to the side after missing the three-match test series because of injury, had 2-46 to bag the player-of-the-match title.
Batting first, Sri Lanka's top order struggled on a Dambulla pitch that provided assistance to seam bowlers but a quick 32 from 15 balls by Muralitharan helped swell Sri Lanka's total to 232 as he hit four boundaries and the only six of the oreunstinbatn ai Lst st Srore a ineend to Srf3 for seven in the 45th over beforet.