The Three Lions controlled the opening half for long spells but headed into the interval a goal down after Gareth Bale's long-range free-kick squeezed past Joe Hart.
However, Roy Hodgson's introduction of both Sturridge and Vardy helped inspire England to a landmark victory in Lens on Thursday.
Leicester City man Vardy restored parity almost immediately after coming off the bench with a close-range finish past Wayne Hennessey after 56 minutes.
And after peppering Wales' box for the entire duration of the second half, England finally made the all-important winning breakthrough as Sturridge fired home in the second minute of injury time.
England failed to end their long wait to secure an opening-match win at a European Championship by drawing with Russia, but claiming a maiden comeback victory will give them a huge boost going into their next clash against Slovakia.