At 103 for five on the first morning Joe Root's side seemed to be heading for more disappointment, but fine centuries in either innings from debutant Ben Foakes and opener Keaton Jennings provided the resistance and a three-strong spin attack flourished with 16 of the 20 required wickets.
"Chandimal's injury is grade one tear, and it will take 10 to 14 days to recover, so it will be touch and go for the second test match", coach Chandika Hathurusingha said. "Sometimes when it's spinning you want them to go for the single and bring the catchers into play".
Fifteen without loss overnight, Sri Lanka's openers Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne withstood the pressure from England's formidable bowling attack for the first hour on Friday. If the pitches look drastically different we can adapt to that with a different XI.
Sri Lanka failed to give the retiring Rangana Herath a winning farewell but the cricketer made sure that England earned the final wicket to seal the last game of his career.
Galle: England's Ben Foakes celebrates scoring a century during the second day of the first Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and England in Galle, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
Leach eventually made the breakthrough when Silva could not connect with a sweep shot and was dismissed leg before wicket for 30.
One ball earlier, de Silva had been given out caught behind flashing at a Stokes delivery wide of the off stump, but he was reprieved on review. Mathews hit three boundaries in his patient 52, silencing questions about his fitness and running between the wickets, but fell to Moeen off the first ball after the tea break.
Soon afterwards Angelo Mathews, dropped on 18 by James Anderson, went for 53, was caught by Jos Buttler at midwicket with Ali the wicker-taker again. The two put together 107 runs for the fourth wicket with Stokes taking spinner Akila Dhananjaya for two sixes and a four in two overs.
"We have to take as much as we can take this into the rest of the tour, but we have to build on it and not rest on our laurels".
"That makes it even sweeter when you do come to a very hard venue, like Galle, and manage to win". Sri Lanka's top-order collapse mirrored England's wretched start in the first innings, but lacked a Foakes-style rescue in their middle order.
Stokes said before the day's play that he expected Moeen, Leach and Adil Rashid to do the most damage, with the ball spinning more quickly off the pitch as the match has progressed.
With the game slipping away, Sri Lanka set up a defensive field.
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