Sri Lanka beat England by 100 runs, with just one ball to spare, to win the second Test at Headingley on Tuesday and so take the two-match series 1-0.
There were more than 20 overs remaining when last man James Anderson came into bat.
But he survived for 55 balls until, with only one delivery left in the match, he gloved a catch off paceman Shaminda Eranga to Rangana Herath at leg gully.
Defeat was tough on England's Moeen Ali who batted for six-and-a-half hours while making 108 not out -- his maiden Test century.
England, set 350 for victory, were bowled out for 249 on the fifth and final day as Sri Lanka won a Test in England for only the third time in their history following victories at The Oval in 1998 and Trent Bridge in 2006.
England had been in charge of this match at 311 for for three after tea on the second day of this Test, thanks to Australia-born opener Sam Robson's maiden Test century, and again when they reduced Sri Lanka to 277 for seven on Monday -- a lead of just 169.
But Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, who earlier in this match took a Test-best four for 44 with the ball, went on to make a superb Test-best 160, having shared an eighth-wicket stand of 149 with Herath (48) that gave the tourists the advantage.
England then suffered a spectacular collapse late Monday as they slumped to 57 for five in the face of paceman Dhammika Prasad's four-wicket burst.
From then on England, who were denied victory in the first Test at Lord's when Sri Lanka No 11 Nuwan Pradeep saw out the last five balls of the match to secure a draw, were fighting a rearguard action.
Sri Lanka 1st Innings 257 (K Sangakkara 79; L Plunkett 5-64, S Broad 3-46)
England 1st Innings 365 (S Robson 127, G Ballance 74, I Bell 64; A Mathews 4-44, S Eranga 4-93)
Sri Lanka 2nd Innings 457 (A Mathews 160, M Jayawardene 79, K Sangakkara 55; Plunkett 4-112, Anderson 3-91)
England 2nd Innings 249 (M Ali 108 no; D Prasad 5-50, R Herath 3-59)
Result: Sri Lanka won by 100 runs
Series: Sri Lanka win two-match seroes 1-0.