Joe Root admits he's proud but not surprised after his England side whitewash Sri Lanka to make historyÂ
Sheffield's Joe Root says he is proud, but wasn't surprised, of his history-making England side as they completed a series whitewash of Sri Lanka yesterday.
Root's England wrapped up a 3-0 series win after beating the hosts by 42 runs in the third Test in Colombo, with Root's Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow named man of the match after his first-innings century.
Remarkably, before this series England had not won away from home in 13 months and Root hadn't won a Test as captain outside England.Â
This England side is the first ever to win every Test match in Sri Lanka, and Root said:Â "I am proud of everyone, it's been a brilliant tour and a real team effort.
"But I'm not surprised by the whitewash.Â I knew we were capable but to do it in the way we have and as consistently as we have is a real improvement from these players. Hopefully we can use this as a springboard for moving forward.
"It's been a really good experience for the group but we have to keep looking to get better. The guys have stepped up whether they are experienced and been around a lot, or the guys who have come in and performed as they have done."
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SpinnerÂ Jack Leach ensured England kept their nerve in Colombo, takingÂ three wickets as well as a vitally important run out to seal victory and make Root's side just the third English touring team to sweep a series of three or more games.
Such achievements are not easy to come by - the last time it happened, in New Zealand, John F Kennedy was planning for a second term as President of the United States and the Beatles were three days away from releasing their debut album - and Sri Lanka pushed England harder than anyone expected.
Chasing a ground record 327 and starting on 53 for four, Kusal Mendis (86) and Roshen Silva (65) both made major inroads before a last-wicket stand worth 58 threatened the unlikeliest of turnarounds in the third Test.
Head coach Trevor Bayliss said: "It went a couple of hours longer than I'd have liked, but we got there in the end and it's justification for the way we have performed in the three Tests.'