Australia and and Sri Lanka expressed reservations about the pitch after 13 wickets fell on the opening day of the first Test in Darwin.
Lasith Malinga jumps for joy after dismissing Darren Lehmann
The tourists were 43-3 at the close after dismissing Australia for 207.
"The wicket was a bit slow and a little bit moist so we wanted to put them in to bat," said Sri Lankan seam bowler Chaminda Vaas, who took 5-31.
"They bowled quite well but the wicket's not ideal," Australian vice-captain Darren Lehmann commented.
Australia's first innings total was their lowest in a Test on home soil since 1992-93 but Lehmann added: "You can't have flat wickets all the time - it just gives the batters more of a challenge and we didn't rise to the challenge well enough."
He praised Vaas' performance, saying: "He bowled beautifully all day, he swung it and it was hard to get him away, hard to pierce the gaps and get any rhythm out there."
Both players were also impressed with youngster Lasith Malinga, who shared the new ball with Vaas in his debut Test and dismissed Lehmann and Adam Gilchrist for figures of 2-50.
He achieved remarkable speed from a short run-up and slingy round arm action.
"Malinga had a wonderful debut. He bowled really well after lunch and if he bowls like this he can be a good Test bowler in the future," said Vaas.
"He's so small and he's a real slinger, I've never come
across someone like that before.
"He's hard to pick up, especially with the variable bounce, some come through, some don't. But he certainly lets them go - he's got some pace," Lehmann commented.