England just about avoided the ignominy of posting their lowest ever total in one-day cricket as they were thrashed by 157 runs by Sri Lanka in Durham.
Tillakaratne Dilshan made 88 and Ashan Priyanjan weighed in with a lively 43 as the tourists posted 256-8 after being put in, a score that looked competitive.
It turned out to be plenty in the final reckoning, Nuwan Kulasekara taking three early wickets before spinner Sachithra Senanayake (4-13) helped skittle England for just 99, fifth on their list of low scores in the 50-over format.
The hosts managed to last all of 26.1 overs in their reply, stand-in skipper Eoin Morgan making 40 as he and Ian Bell - who made 12 - were the only players to make it into double figures.
The emphatic result in Sri Lanka's favour means the series is all square heading to Emirates Old Trafford for a day-nighter on Wednesday.
It all looked good for England with the bat - for the first 15 deliveries. Bell and new opening partner Michael Carberry put on 19 quickly before the rot began to set in.
Having leaked seven runs off his first two balls, Kulasekara showed the value of bowling a probing line and length in beneficial conditions as he had both the top two caught behind by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara.
He also trapped Gary Ballance leg before for five, the Yorkshire batsman departing the over after county colleague Joe Root had been emphatically bowled by Lasith Malinga before troubling the scorers.
At 29-4 Senanayake seized the chance to turn the screw, firstly by bowling Ravi Bopara (seven) through a huge gap between bat and pad.
Jos Buttler got a leading edge to Angelo Mathews' first delivery into the attack to depart for four, while poor Chris Jordan - such a star with the bat during England's victory at the Oval on Thursday, was completely bamboozled by a ball from Senanayake that trapped him leg before.
James Tredwell gifted his fellow spinner a wicket by lofting straight out to long-off, his dismissal rather summing up a dismal batting display that lacked both intent and clear thinking.
Morgan did his best, hitting a pair of sixes to at least make sure England went past their all-time low of 86, posted against Australia back in 2001. He eventually fell to Dhammika Prasad, by which time his side's run of four successive ODI victories was already certain of coming to a shuddering halt.
Dilshan showed them exactly how it should be done in typically English conditions, the opener quelling his desire to dominate with a well-composed, 101-ball knock that included just the seven boundaries.
Although he was denied a century by a good ball from Jordan that nipped back to trim the bails, his efforts - which saw him go past 15,000 runs for Sri Lanka in all formats, laid the foundations for a late push.
Sangakkara played his part in a second-wicket alliance worth 96 in 21 overs, the partnership ending in rather surprising fashion when the left-hander hit Tredwell straight up in the air to go for 40.
But Priyanjan, dropped on six by a sprawling Harry Gurney at third-man off Jordan, and Mathews added a further 66 for the fifth wicket.
It helped Sri Lanka pick up 87 in the last 10 overs despite a late clatter of wickets to Gurney (3-59), Mathews one of his victims when he picked out Bopara at cover on 30.
James Anderson (2-38) eventually removed Priyanjan, playing here only because of Thisara Perera's injury, but the damage had already been done.