Rumman Raees (3/49) and Hasan Ali (3/36) moved the ball at lively pace and even used the bouncer as a weapon to share four of the first five Lankan wickets as Tharanga's men were reduced to 56/5 before the end of the 16 over.
Sri Lankan batting collapsed despite half centuries by Lahiru Thirimanne and Akila Dananjaya.
Pakistan successfully defended what looked like a modest total of 292 for 6 to win the first ODI against Sri Lanka by 83 runs.
Sri Lanka, who won the preceding two-match Test series 2-0, had spearhead Nuwan Perera ruled out from the one-day series with a hamstring injury and inducted Lahiru Gamage.
Left-armer Raees broke a quick 30-run opening partnership as he removed Niroshan Dickwella (19) and Dinesh Chandimal in successive overs, while Mohammad Hafeez dismissed captain Upul Tharanga for 18.
Hasan's first victim was Kusal Mendis, caught behind for two, and when he cleaned up Milinda Siriwardana next ball the tourists were rocking at 67-5.
They didn't have the greatest of starts as Ahmed Shehzad (0, 12 balls) once again failed to make the most of the chance he was offered by the Pakistani think-tank.
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Thirimanne hit three boundaries in his 74-ball stay.
Malik holed out in the 47th over after smashing five fours and two sixes.
"I always try to bat as per the requirement of the team and I am happy I did that today as well", said Malik.
Sri Lanka fast bowler Suranga Lakmal took 2-47.
But even Pakistan were in danger of losing their way in the middle overs of their own innings and it wasn't until Malik stepped onto the field that their fortunes changed.
Fakhar Zaman and Azam took the total to 75 before Akila Dananjaya bowled the opener with a googly.
Malik, who was playing in his 253rd ODI, has hit 101 sixes and 563 fours so far in the 229 innings he has batted.