James Anderson took 5-29 to complete his third 10-wicket haul in Tests – with magnificent match figures of 10-45 – as England bowled the tourists out for 119 to win by an innings and 88 runs inside three days in Leeds.
Anderson and Stuart Broad had ripped through shell-shocked Sri Lanka on day two, bowling them out for only 91 after Jonny Bairstow (140) and Alex Hales (86) rescued England from 83-5 to 298 all out.
Kusal Mendis (53) took advantage of being dropped twice to make his first Test half-century, but Sri Lanka folded from 79-2 to slump to a crushing defeat after two hours were lost due to rain.
Sri Lanka must now regroup ahead of the second Test in the three-match series, which starts at Chester-le-Street next Friday, and captain Mathews intends to go back to the drawing board.
The all-rounder said: “It was quite an embarrassing defeat. You have to be really skilful to bat against these guys, especially in these conditions. Anderson showed once again showed his class, Stuart Broad was brilliant as well.
“One or two of our guys needed to raise our hands up, but failed to do that in the first innings and once again we failed to do that in the second innings.”
He added: “The same way with our bowling, we got five wickets for 80 runs and we let them off the hook. But Jonny Bairstow batted brilliantly and Alex Hales, they got them to a decent score on this wicket and it was up to us batters to try and get a good score in the first innings.
“We have to change our mindset and believe we can do it. Yes it was a humiliating defeat, quite embarrassing, but if we stick to our plans in the second game we can turn the tables around.”
England have a doubt over all-rounder Ben Stokes for his home Test in Durham due to a knee injury. (Courtesy Yahoo Sports)