David Lloyd says 'fabulous' Moeen Ali turned Kandy Test back in England's favour
"We have seen it so many times that spinners have been found wanting but I think they have enjoyed the challenge. That is part of it. You can't get tense and clam up."
Last Updated: 04/12/18 7:32am
Moeen Ali is a "fabulous" cricketer and played a crucial role in earning England a first Test series win in Sri Lanka in 17 years, says David Lloyd.
Ali bagged 4-72 in Sri Lanka's second innings in Kandy, including two on the final morning, as England wrapped up a 57-run victory to move 2-0 up with one match to play, in Colombo from Friday.
The off-spinner - who claimed match figures of 8-137 to help his side win the first Test in Galle by 211 runs - also made a key breakthrough on day four of the second Test, pinning Angelo Mathews lbw for 88 after the hosts had moved to within 82 runs of victory with five wickets intact.
"I keep reading from people watching the game that Ali can't bowl - I don't know what they are watching! I think he does a fabulous job for England," Lloyd told Sky Sports Cricket.
"He bats - and he can bat better than he has in this series - and when England give him the ball he will make it spin, make something happen.
"He got Mathews out just after tea on day four which was a big telling point in the game - England were on the ropes, make no mistake, and who got them off the ropes? Ali."
Ali and fellow England spinners Jack Leach and Adil Rashid picked up 18 scalps between them in a Test in which 38 wickets fell to spin - a record in Test match cricket.
Bumble thinks England's slow-bowling trio relished the task of bowling on spinning wickets and believes England skipper Joe Root marshalled them well.
"We have seen it so many times that in these conditions spinners have been found wanting but I think they have enjoyed the challenge. That is part of it. You can't get tense and clam up," he said.
"You can't get away from the fact that it's your job to get batsmen out on a pitch like that but they haven't shrunk at all.
"It's good that it's not 'it all depends on one of you' - Root could go to any combination he liked. They have been terrific and enjoyed working together.
"I think it's been a great experience for these three spinners and Root, who has really enjoyed captaining out here in these conditions - extreme heat and humidity and a very, very dry pitch."
Root praised England for sticking to the "bold" approach he had asked for before the series started, despite his side losing early wickets in both Tests.
Ben Foakes rescued the tourists in Galle with a debut ton, while Root's brisk century in Kandy moved his team from a precarious position and up to an ultimately match-winning second-innings total.
"From time to time we will look aghast and say 'it's reckless, it's gung-ho' - but the captain wants England to play a certain way," said Lloyd. "They will get better at doing that.
"England are pushing their game forward. They have a long batting line-up with some very influential players coming in at No 7 and No 8.
"Foakes has been sensational - to come out here and make such an impact on the series shows England are well served."
Bumble says Sri Lanka are in a transitional phase following the loss of some key players over the last few years, most recently spinner Rangana Herath, who retired after the first Test in Galle.
But he has urged the selectors to build their side around former skipper Angelo Mathews, who has scored three fifties in four innings after being left out of the preceding white-ball fixtures, reportedly on fitness grounds.
"They are missing Mahela Jayawardene's stack off runs, Kumar Sangakkara's stack of runs and Herath's wickets so they are rebuilding," said the Sky Cricket expert.
"I sense there is an undercurrent around Mathews. Nevertheless he is a wonderful player, outstanding. Dimuth Karunaratne is also one of the best opening batsmen in world cricket at the minute."
Watch the third Test between Sri Lanka and England from 4am, Friday on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.