Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara has praised the impact of captain Angelo Mathews following the tourists' decisive win in the second Test.
"Mathews showed he is a fantastic young man," said Sangakkara.
"The way he led us through the tour - through the best of times and some controversy - showed the strength of his character."
Mathews, 27, was Sri Lanka's man of the series after his match-turning century in the second Test.
The Sri Lanka captain had been strongly criticised for refusing to withdraw the controversial run-out of Jos Buttler in the one-day international series that preceded the two Test matches.
Mathews also mounted a staunch defence of bowler Sachithra Senanayake after the off-spinner was reported over a suspect action during the limited-overs series. The captain accused England of reporting Senanayake because they struggled to face his bowling.
"It means everything," Mathews said of the Test series victory. "We kept trying and didn't lose our belief. Our bowlers are quite inexperienced but they tried to hit their lines and lengths and were brilliant."
Veteran batsman Mahela Jayawardene, 37, who admitted he was unlikely to return to England in Test cricket, hailed the win as "something special".
"We had to really fight at Lord's and here we had to dig deep," he said. "I said to Kumar in the slips it would probably go to the last over and it did."
"It's a huge, huge win," said Sri Lanka coaching consultant Chris Adams. "I had a feeling England would dig in but Sri Lanka are great lads and I'm absolutely delighted for them."