Sri Lanka had not celebrated a home test win since Muttiah Muralitharan's retirement in July 2010. After a strong winning performance against England, they put an end to that streak.
Buoyed by strong performances from Mahela Jayawardene and spinner Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka went on to celebrate a 75-run victory over the British in Galle.
Herath finished with match figures of 12/171 and was instrumental in bowling out the tourists cheaply in the second innings—squashing any late hopes of revival.
England will look back on the match and seek to improve on the basics—which they know cost them the chance at winning this match.
They dropped Jayawardene four times as he went on to make a match-defining 180, and their bowlers failed to finish off the Sri Lankan tail who, to their credit, batted well and made valuable runs.
England are ranked as the world's top test team, but showed little signs of that as they slumped to another test defeat—this time to the sixth-ranked Sri Lanka.
Without Jonathon Trott and James Anderson, the score could have been a lot worse for England. They will desperately need to find depth by the beginning of the second test.
The second and final test begins on April 3rd in Colombo.