COLOMBO  - For the first time at a post-match presentation this year Andrew Strauss wore a broad grin as England ended a run of four straight Test defeats with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory.

It was enough for them to retain the No. 1 ranking, but for Strauss the most important aspect was to have seen his side emerge from a difficult period with important lessons learned.  Having fallen apart against spin in the preceding four matches England's top-order finally offered the team's outstanding bowling attack support for their efforts. Strauss is confident that the batsmen have made significant strides in playing in sub continental conditions, which they will encounter again at the end of the year in India.  "We've been seeing in the nets for a while the guys have been forced to re-look at their games," he said. "It's easy to say we're experienced cricketers and we should have known it earlier but I do think to a certain extent DRS has changed things and we've had to look at our techniques, and I think we've come through that. Everyone looks better now than they did at the start of the winter.