England ended their tour of Sri Lanka on the ultimate high when they clinched the third and final Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) by 42 runs to achieve a historic 3-0 series whitewash. With this result, England achieved a clean sweep of Sri Lanka across all formats, winning the ODIs 3-1 and the one-off Twenty20 International. When left-arm spinner Jack Leach trapped last man Suranga Lakmal for 11, Joe Root’s side had secured a 3-0 whitewash in the sub-continent for the first time. England became only the third team after Australia and India to whitewash the Lankans at home.
Resuming day 3 at 53/4 in pursuit of 327, Leach accounted for night watchman Lakshan Sandakan for 7 but Roshen Silva joined Kusal Mendis and the duo shared a 102-run stand for the sixth wicket. Mendis attacked the spinners and was confidently rotating the strike while Silva chose to drop anchor and steady the ship. However, Moeen Ali broke the dangerous partnership when he trapped Silva LBW for 65. The umpire had given it not out and Root opted for the review. Replays showed that the ball hit the pad first before crashing onto the stumps.
With Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Perera departing cheaply, all hopes rested on Mendis but when he was run-out for 86, it seemed a mere formality for England. However, Lakmal and Malinda Pushpakumara strung a solid partnership for the last wicket to raise hopes of a miraculous win for the hosts.
Pushpakumara recovered from a blow to the side of the helmet by Stuart Broad but he continued to attack the England bowling. However, Leach, who had troubled the Sri Lankan batsmen throughout this match, spun one across Lakmal to trap him LBW and secure the whitewash.
The 3-0 result helped the England team amass plenty of records. Root’s side secured only their third whitewash ever away from home. For Sri Lanka, there was not a single centurion in the entire series. For Leach, it was a great tour for him as he finished with 16 wickets in three Tests at an average of 21.38. For Sri Lanka, this was their third 3-0 whitewash at home in the last 18 years, with India and Australia achieving this feat in 2004 and 2017.
With success in ODIS and T20Is, England became only the third team after Pakistan and India to secure success in Sri Lanka across all formats.