It has been a lot of fun covering all these matches and there was a good contest between bat and ball. That's all for now! Adios and take care! Do switch tabs to follow up on the other crazy Test match going on between Pakistan and New Zealand where Yasir Shah has picked up his best figures in Test cricket. Cheers!
So, we have come to the end of what has been a long, drawn out tour for England to Sri Lanka. 1-0 in the T20, 3-1 in the ODIS and 3-0 in the Tests. Though the scorelines look one-sided, the games have been closer than the results suggest. Sri Lanka fought valiantly but didn't have that extra bit in them to go over the line. But what's done is done. Onward and upward as they say, Sri Lanka travel to New Zealand next to play 2 Tests, 3 ODIs and 1 T20I. From dustbowls to fast, pacy pitches. They will have to sort out their batting and look to do better. As for England, they have a good break before they travel to the Windies in the end of January for 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is. They should be pretty upbeat and look to travel well and challenge India for the no. 1 spot in Tests.
Victorious England skipper, Joe Root says that he is really proud of everyone and terms it as a team effort. Adds that they knew they had the ability and hopes to keep improving from here on. Mentions about the squad depth which has been their biggest strength as they can bring in different guys who can pick 20 wickets and post scores to put pressure on the opponents. Feels it's been a good experience for the group. As a captain, Root replies that 'you are only as good as your team'. Credits his boys for stepping up and praises the experienced players for sharing the burden. Praises the team management as well. Signs off by saying that it's been a great tour for them and he looks forward to coming back again. Thanks his fans for all the support.
Man of the Series, Ben Foakes says it's been crazy few weeks. Adds that the Sri Lankan guys played really well in this match. Feels that the conditions were tough and he is happy to acclimatize. Informs that this is his second tour here and the past experience helped him. He is delighted to contribute in England's success and says that he didn't do anything extra and just went with the flow.
Sri Lanka's skipper, Suranga Lakmal says that it was a strong and tough game. On learning from the series, he replies that small things went wrong and they need to rectify that. Mentions that everyone did their best and they will have to show improvement in future.
Man of the Match, Jonny Bairstow is all smiles and says that it's not often that they come in the subcontinent and win the series. Admits that for him, it's been up and down, getting injured in between and then coming back into the team. On batting at number 3, he says that he is pleased with the start. Mentions that he's looking forward to the West Indian tour.
Jack Leach also gives a quick interview. Says that it's a special feeling. Credits Sri Lanka for pushing them. On the last wicket, he mentions that he wanted the new ball so he could just skid one through. On the run out, he reckons that it was a big moment in the game and is very happy to be a part of it. Please hold on for the final presentation of the series.
Ben Stokes is caught down for a chat. He says that Sri Lanka put them under pressure with that early partnership. On being asked what was said during the break, he says that they knew it was just a matter of one wicket. Thanks Leach for getting them over the line. On the series, he says it was quite tough and also the weather was quite hot. Mentions that his role in the squad is to be the enforcer. On achieving a whitewash, he replies that Sri Lanka are not easy to beat at home and he is proud that they won it 3-0.
All in all, England will be very happy with this tour result. Every format has been dominated and every format has been won. Tests especially have been a great run for the Brits. Ben Foakes has been a great find and in the last Test, Bairstow seems to be an answer to their no. 3 issue. Despite being favorites, such a comprehensive win for a team that has been historically not so good in the subcontinent is a big achievement. Sri Lanka will have to go back to their drawing board and look at their batting. Not a single century in the Test series by them. One of the major disappointment for them was the batting form of Kusal Mendis, who barring the last innings, failed to contribute much. Also, the senior players didn't apply themselves to bat long.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be disappointed as they played good cricket only in patches and didn't do enough to win a game. The little extra was what was lacking as they lost yet another close game. On the positive side though, Dilruwan Perera was the leading wicket-taker of this series with 22 wickets. Dimuth Karunaratne looked good whenever he batted. Even today, there was a good fight from Kusal Mendis and Roshen Silva as they had a par 100 stand but got out at a key stage in the game. The complete performance was lacking. All three departments never fired together. In the end, it has to be said that they will be very heartbroken with the scoreline as they always pride themselves playing at home.
So that's that and Sri Lanka have been whitewashed at home. England have done it, with their own brand of spin bowling. They were always ahead in the game one felt, and despite the tough fight that the hosts showed from time to time over the duration of the Test, England were still favorites to win. The trio of spinners did it again for them in this Test, just as in the previous two. Adil Rashid in the first innings with a five-for and Moeen Ali, Jack Leach with four each in the second innings. The batsmen have to be applauded too, Bairstow, in particular, standing out with a century in tough conditions and supported by Ben Stokes. Jos Buttler for his 64 in the second essay. The tail also did its bit and it could be argued, was the difference in the end.
Leach to Lakmal, OUT! England have done it! It's clipping the leg pole and the umpire's call stays! England win by 42 runs and whitewash Sri Lanka 3-0, an achievement for them outside home after 56 long years. This one is flatter and on middle and off. Lakmal misses the forward defense and gets hit low on the pads. They appeal and the umpire raises his finger after thinking for a while. Lakmal has no other option but to opt for the DRS. The ball is sliding down but Ball Tracker feels that it would have clipped the leg stump. That's what matters then and the hosts have fallen, but not without a fight. Jack Leach was the one who started it off today with a great direct hit and he is the one to end it with an LBW. His fourth wicket of the innings. Also, one for the records - It was the 100th wicket by a spinner in this series.
GIVEN OUT! Suranga Lakmal has been adjudged lbw. Sri Lanka take the review. Looks quite adjacent. Let's see...
J Leach to Lakmal, Flighted ball, Lakmal comes ahead and defends it towards cover.
J Leach to Lakmal, This one is short and on the pads, flicked away to square leg off the back foot.
J Leach to Lakmal, Flatter on middle, Lakmal defends it off the back foot.
END OF OVER: 86 | 3 Runs 0 Wkt | SL: 284/9
Welcome, we are back. Jack Leach to bowl the first over. Lakmal to face.
... Day 4, Session 3 ...
Well, well! Can't believe we are here! Somehow, Sri Lanka have managed to bring the deficit down to just 43 and there is very slight glimmer of hope. Four wickets went down in this session but don't fool yourselves, the last pair has been batting for close to 12 overs. They have played bravely and lived on so far. England seem to be a tad bit worried. The luck seems to have run out as have their reviews. Will we witness a crazy jailbreak from the hosts or will we see the fall of the last wicket after the break? Join us in a bit for the last session of play.
S Broad to Pushpakumara, Very well played! Gets behind the ball and plays this with a straight bat. That will be Tea on Day 4.
S Broad to Pushpakumara, Fuller ball on off, Pushpakumara swings hard but gets it off the inner half towards mid-wicket.
S Broad to M Pushpakumara, WIDE! Short ball over the head height of Pushpakumara. Wide given by the umpire.
S Broad to Lakmal, Length ball around off, cut towards backward point for a quick single.
S Broad to Pushpakumara, Well played. Gets behind this fuller ball and drives it towards covers for one.