Buttler arrived at the crease with England 89 for four in the 26th over.
Although England will have hoped for better after winning the toss in scorching conditions at Pallekele Stadium, they will be mindful that they were 113 for five at the same stage in Galle and left with a handsome victory.
Keaton Jennings, fresh from his redemptive 146 not out, was out for a single this time – feeling for Suranga Lakmal outside off stump in a reminder of his summer struggles against seam.
Ben Stokes’ much talked about promotion to three, yielded 19 runs but he was plumb lbw playing Dilruwan Perera on the back foot, having already survived a similar shout on a tight review.
A regulation delivery from Malinda Pushpakumara bowled captain Joe Root for 14 through the gate to leave England teetering at 65 for three and Burns’ assured knock ended at the hand thanks to a beauty from Akila Dananjaya, whose action was reported after the first Test.
Buttler shifted the tone in the final 20 minutes, scoring freely with a barrage of sweeps – conventional, reverse and lapped.
England have no qualms about facing Dananjaya after action questioned – Root