After a number of indifferent performances away from home, England produced some magnificent displays to complete a first series whitewash in Sri Lanka.

Questions were asked of Joe Root’s men prior to the series, with no away series victories since the 2015/16 tour to South Africa and a squad comprised of one or two new faces.

But a new-look England side played with the kind of confidence that had been lacking from previous visits to the sub-continent, even if the hosts were without some of their famous names of recent years.

It was also a tactical revelation to see England go with three spinners, who each found their form throughout the series. Often in the past it has been a case of the same bowlers operating in all corners of the globe, with two or sometimes one spinner playing away from home.

Root and the selectors were bold, they had six viable bowling options and even opted to leave Stuart Broad out of the first two Tests.

Following a comprehensive victory at Galle, England took an unassailable 2-0 lead at Kandy with a 57-run victory which went some way to rectifying some underwhelming overseas results.

All eyes then turned to the third and final Test in Colombo, with England recalling the fit again Jonny Bairstow to replace the impressive Sam Curran whilst Stuart Broad got the nod to give James Anderson a rest.

After Root won the toss for the eighth time in a row, England were once again able to post a good score after batting first, and on another turning pitch the tourists established another first innings lead.

The most pleasing aspect of the series was the way that England controlled matches. The truth is that Sri Lanka were never really ahead at any stage in all three matches and they were often reliant on either a flurry of wickets or some lower order defiance.

Despite some typically stubborn resistance from Sri Lanka, England completed the whitewash on Day Four and in the process became only the third team in history to achieve a 3-0 victory in Sri Lanka.

The result stands Root’s men in good stead ahead of the upcoming tour of West Indies and an Ashes summer in 2019.


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