For an England side who lost the toss and have lost the first Test in five of their last six series, it was almost a dream opening day.
But for the home side, Sri Lanka, it was nothing short of a nightmare.
They were bundled out for 135 in just 46.1 overs, owing to a mix of of poor shots and freakish dismissals that gifted Dom Bess a second Test five-wicket haul that even he himself accepted was based more on luck than his bowling prowess.
Bess was aided handsomely by Stuart Broad.
Having received the nod ahead of Jimmy Anderson, the 34-year-old picked up his best figures in Sri Lanka of three for 20 and with it doubled the tally of wickets, he has taken in Sri Lanka, in the past.
Broad bowled a torrid five-over opening spell that left him sweating and fuming in the heat, but ended up with with the wickets of Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Mendis to show for it.
When asked to sum up the performance, Grant Flower, the Sri Lanka batting coach and former Zimbabwe international, replied: “You ask me who should take the blame? Every single batter should take the blame.
“I’m at a loss for words. I’ve never seen us bat that badly. They know these conditions well and it should have been a big advantage.
“England’s batsmen showed us there’s nothing wrong with the pitch. We batted terribly.”
England ended the day well though it could have been much worse.
Embuldeniya, drew Dom Sibley out of position with his drift and beating him with his turn, gained an edge to slip, before Zak Crawley’s unnecessary attempt to clear the infield resulted only in a catch to mid-off.
Root, however, after surviving a scare, is looking solid at 66 and might be fancying his chances to get a big score.
England 127 for 2 (Root 66*, Bairstow 47*) trail Sri Lanka 135 (Bess 5-30, Broad 3-20) by eight runs