England won an overseas series sweep after 55 years when they defeated Sri Lanka by 42 runs in the third and final Test match in Colombo on Monday. The team was led by Skipper Joe Root.
Spinners Jack Leach and Moeen Ali were the standout bowlers who took four wickets each to bowl out Sri Lanka in the final session on the fourth day in Colombo.
It is to be noted that England have not won all the games in a series of three or more Tests since Ted Dexter’s side won 3-0 in New Zealand in 1963.
Number 11 Malinda Pushpakumara had given England a scare with his unbeaten 42 off 40 deliveries, lifting the hosts from 226-9 thus raising hopes of a miracle. But Leach broke the 58-run last-wicket stand in the fourth ball of the final session.
Kusal Mendis, who scored a gritty 86, and Roshen Silva (65) put on 102 runs for the sixth wicket to launch Sri Lanka’s resistance campaign on a turning wicket.
Mendis, who started the day on 15, scored his seventh Test fifty as he smashed eight fours and a six during his defiant knock. Silva hit a fighting half-century, but was finally trapped lbw by Moeen Ali.
England were bowled out for 230 in their second innings on Sunday with Jos Buttler making a crucial 64 after they had fallen to 39-4 against the opposition spinners.
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid then took five wickets to help dismiss Sri Lanka for 240 as the tourists took a crucial lead into the second innings.
After receiving the Man of the Match award Jonny Bairstow said, “Really good for me, not often you come into the side and win the series. It’s been a good tour. It’s been up and down for me personally. Getting injured and coming back into the team, it’s been a good journey. Just see how it goes, plenty of cricket to be played. Look forward to the Windies tour. It’s nice to be out with friends.”