It was just the start a weakened and inexperienced batting line-up, coming off the back of four heavy defeats, really did not need.
By the end of the seventh over, Sri Lanka had lost two more wickets and were staring down the barrel of an embarrassment. Inevitability is rarely a good thing in sport.
The T20 and ODI series between these two teams has had far too much of it.
As it was, mainly thanks to Dhananjaya de Silva’s excellent innings of 91, Sri Lanka managed to recover and at least give themselves something to bowl at.
But their total of 241 for nine was still a hundred runs short on a belter of a pitch.
It has been the theme of the tour.
As they have in each of the four games in which they have batted first, Sri Lanka failed to score enough runs, their bowlers did their best but England ran out comfortable winners.
The gulf between these two sides is, at present, as wide as The Oval’s famous square.
Sri Lanka: 241/9 in 50 overs (Dhananjaya de Silva 91, Dasun Shanaka 47, Sam Curran 5/48, David Willey 4/64)
England: 244/2 in 43 overs (Eoin Morgan 75 n.o, Joe Root 68 n.o).