Mahela Jayawardene won another toss and decided to give his spinners last use of the pitch at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.
Sri Lanka go into the second Test against England with two changes to their eleven.
They replaced the injured fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara with Dhammika Prasad, and Dinesh Chandimal with Angelo Mathews.
England also had to make changes to their team.
Stuart Broad was ruled out through injury and Tim Bresnan took his place.
They also dropped left-arm spinner Monty Panesar and brought in fast bowler Steven Finn.
England must win this match to avoid losing their No. 1 Test ranking to South Africa.
James Anderson struck three early blows to give England the upper hand on the first day dismissing both openers Thirimanne and Dilshan and following up with Kumar Sangakkara who again failed to open his account.
Sri Lanka were on 82 runs for the loss of 3 wickets at lunch on the first day of play.