COLOMBO: Skipper Joe Root hailed England’s “complete team-effort” Monday after his team sealed a tense victory over Sri Lanka in the third and final Test to record their first overseas series sweep in 55 years.
In the face of stubborn Sri Lankan resistance, spinners Jack Leach and Moeen Ali took four wickets each to set up the 42 run win inside four days in Colombo. Needing 327 for an unlikely victory, Sri Lanka reached 284.
Leach trapped captain Suranga Lakmal lbw for 11 to trigger celebrations for England who have not won all the games in an overseas series of three or more Tests since Ted Dexter’s side won 3-0 in New Zealand in 1963.
It was the third time Sri Lanka have been whitewashed at home after India last year and Australia in 2004.
The third Test highlighted England’s pool of talent with Leach coming in as the third spinner with Ali and Adil Rashid, and Ben Foakes taking the wicketkeeper’s gloves but also scoring big runs.
“That’s been a big secret in our success — being able to bring different guys in, and pick a team that is going to take 20 wickets and score enough runs to put teams under pressure,” said Root.
“The experienced players have taken the extra responsibility. It’s been exceptional. It’s been a complete team effort, it’s been a great tour,” said Root, who has set the target of overtaking India as world number one Test team.