Excellent England complete first Test clean sweep in Sri Lanka
England completed a first ever Test clean sweep in Sri Lanka with a 42-run victory on day four in Colombo on Monday.
The tourists had set a daunting target of 327 and taken four wickets a day earlier to leave Sri Lanka a monumental challenge to avoid a 3-0 defeat.
Kusal Mendis (86) and Roshen Silva (65) put on a fine century stand to briefly revive the hosts' hopes only for the former to be run out when Jack Leach produced a brilliant direct hit to turn the tide.
Leach (4-72) was also one of the chief protagonists with the ball, breaking the 10th-wicket stand of 58 between Malinda Pushpakumara and Suranga Lakmal to win the game, as England - who had already completed a first win in Sri Lanka since 2001 - earned just a third series sweep away from home.
IT’S A WHITEWASH!!!
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 26, 2018
It took little time for Leach to take care of nightwatchman Lakshan Sandakan (7), but that was England's only breakthrough in a morning session in which Kusal and Roshen showed stoic resistance.
Kusal had failed to go past fifty in his previous 11 Test innings, but showed his expertise against spin with any errors in length being clattered away – a huge six off Moeen Ali (4-92) against just his fourth delivery of the day a particular highlight.
He kept the tempo ticking through to lunch and for the majority of the first hour after the restart but, having narrowly escaped the previous over, a questionable call from Roshen to go for two left Kusal stranded after a fine direct hit from Leach running in from deep backward square.
Leach then had Niroshan Dickwella (19) tickle one into the safe hands of Keaton Jennings at backward short leg, and the same man had a sixth catch of the match when Dilruwan Perera (5) was caught playing off the back foot to Moeen.
Moeen ended Roshen's gritty resistance via a successful review for lbw, before Pushpakumara (42 not out) and Lakmal (11) frustrated England through to tea - the former delivering some lusty blows in an entertaining 40-ball knock.
But Leach brought the match to an end by trapping Lakmal, a review showing the ball would have clipped leg stump, to start the England celebrations.