England gave a Test debut to Gloucestershire seamer Jon Lewis, who replaced Sajid Mahmood from the teams that drew the first Test at Lord's and won the second Test by six wickets at Edgbaston to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Sri Lanka recalled former captain Sanath Jayasuriya. The veteran left-handed batsman, 36, joined the tour during the Lord's Test, having previously announced his Test retirement so he could concentrate on one-day internationals in the run-up to next year's World Cup in the Caribbean.
Jayasuriya, who has scored 6,613 runs at an average of 41.59 in 102 Tests with 14 hundreds, has not played Test cricket since sustaining a thumb injury in the second Test against Pakistan at Kandy in April.
He was listed to come in down the order rather than in his usual opening berth with Sri Lanka standing by their first-wicket duo of Upul Tharanga and Michael Vandort - who scored a hundred at Edgbaston.
England were looking to win their first Test series since claiming the Ashes, on home soil, against Australia in September.
England: Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff (capt), Geraint Jones (wkt), Liam Plunkett, Jon Lewis, Matthew Hoggard, Monty Panesar
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Michael Vandort, Kumar Sangakkara (wkt), Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Sanath Jayasuriya, Farveez Maharoof, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan
Umpires: Darrell Hair (AUS), Rudi Koertzen (RSA). TV umpire: Peter Hartley (ENG).
Match referee: Alan Hurst (AUS)