All rounder Chris Jordan bludgeoned 38 runs with the bat before claiming three wickets as he staked his claim for a place in the England test squad, while there were promising performances from relative newcomers Gary Ballance and Harry Gurney.
"I came in to try to score with a flurry and I'm glad it came off," man-of-the-match Jordan told the BBC. "We wanted as many runs as we could because Sri Lanka bat really deep and we were wary of that.
"I want to keep improving my game and want to capitalise on any chances I get to score runs. We know they had to go some guns and luckily it came off."
The hosts lost the toss and were put in to bat by Sri Lanka and having lost captain Alastair Cook (11) early in the innings, England progressed nicely with Ian Bell registering his 31st ODI fifty before being dismissed four balls later.
Torrential rain halted proceedings for 2-1/2 hours with the game being limited to 39 overs per side.
Upon resumption Ballance top-scored with 64 and Joe Root added 45 before a swashbuckling cameo by Jordan who struck five fours and two sixes in a breathless knock of 38 from 13 balls as England scored 60 runs in the final four overs of their innings.
Sri Lanka's reply got off to the worst possible start with James Anderson claiming the wicket of Lahiru Thirimanne inside the first over while star batsman Kumar Sangakkara was dismissed for just eight.
After a second rain delay Sri Lanka were set a revised target of 226 from 32 overs and after Mahela Jayawardene top-scored with 35 the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals as they struggled to keep pace with the required run rate and eventually collapsed to 144 all out and a 1-0 deficit in the five-match series.
The second ODI will take place at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street on Sunday.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chris Jordan
- Gary Ballance
- Sri Lanka