England fought back after Sachithra Senanayake ran out Jos Buttler backing up at the non-striker's end - known as 'Mankading' after Indian bowler Vinoo Mankad was the first person to do it - but not effectively enough as Mahela Jayawardene (53) and Lahiru Thirimanne (60no) struck their first half-centuries of the series and shared a crucial fourth-wicket stand of 98.
In pursuit of only 219 all out, with rain threatening for most of the chase, it kept Sri Lanka ahead of the game on the way to a six-wicket win with 10 balls to spare.
The truth was that England's top order - despite a hard-working 56 from Alastair Cook - did not press on as required, and the furore surrounding Buttler's departure merely masked that important issue.
Senanayake sparked an angry reaction when he ran out Buttler at the non-strikers' end, albeit after warning him for pinching yards.
It is a legitimate mode of dismissal, but one often frowned upon and rarely enforced - only seven times previously, in fact, in the history of international cricket. This time, it made little difference to the result.
Meanwhile, Rob Taylor, the Scotland all-rounder, yesterday took the best bowling figures of his first-class career with 5-51 for Leicestershire in their Championship 2 match with Gloucestershire. His victims included Martin Klinger, the Australian batsman, and his haul helped give the Grace Road side a slender first-innings lead.
Calum MacLeod and Gavin Main also continue to impress south of the border. The Uddingston pair were on duty for Durham's second XI against Leeds/Bradford MCCU and captain MacLeod led the way with a composed 44, his side's second highest score in a total of 231-9. Main then took two wickets in a 41-run victory.