COLOMBO — Skipper Joe Root led England to their first overseas series sweep in 55 years after they beat Sri Lanka by 42 runs in the third and final Test cricket yesterday.
Spinners Jack Leach and Moeen Ali took four wickets each to help bowl out Sri Lanka, chasing a daunting 327 for victory, for 284 in the final session on day four in Colombo.
Leach got captain Suranga Lakmal trapped lbw for 11 to trigger celebrations for England who 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 gave England a scare with his unbeaten 42 off 40 deliveries, lifting the hosts from 226-9 and raise hopes of a miracle.
But Leach broke the 58-run last wicket stand in the fourth ball of the final session. Kusal Mendis, who hit a gritty 86, and Roshen Silva, who made 65, put on 102 runs for the sixth wicket to launch Sri Lanka’s resistance campaign on a turning wicket.