Sri Lanka vs England: All you need to know from day five in Kandy
Last Updated: 18/11/18 7:28am
Moeen Ali claimed two wickets in three balls before Jack Leach took the wicket to seal England's first away series win in almost three years. Here's all you need to know...
Jack Leach completed his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket as England wrapped up a series-clinching 57-run win over Sri Lanka in Kandy, writes Sam Drury.
Moment of the day
A lot has happened since January 2016 - Leicester won the Premier League, Britain voted to leave the EU and Donald Trump was elected US president - but until today, England had not won a Test series away from home. That all changed at just before 5am GMT when Malinda Pushpakumara chipped the ball back to Leach.
In taking the catch off his own bowling, the spinner sealed the match, clinched the three-match series with a game to spare and gave England a first Test series win in Sri Lanka since 2001 - not to mention it gave him a first five-for in Test cricket.
Now to sort out Brexit...
Stat of the day
More wickets (38) fell to spin in this match than any other in Test history.
England's spin triumvirate have been impressive in this series, largely out-bowling their Sri Lanka counterparts, but outside of Asia it is hard to see where England would play three spinners. There may be room for two when they play the Windies in the New Year but who is England's No 1?
Leach will take the headlines after taking the match-winning wicket to finish with eight in the match but it is arguably Moeen Ali's two wickets in three balls, including the key scalp of Niroshan Dickwella, that won the game for England. Leach provides greater consistency than either Ali or Adil Rashid, crucial when it comes to holding an end and allowing Root to rest his quicks in more seam-friendly conditions, and has transitioned seamlessly from county to international cricket.
Ali, meanwhile, has the experience of having bowled England to victory on a number of occasions, particularly at home, while his ability with the bat is certainly an edge he has over Leach and Rashid and gives England the option of playing an extra bowler if they needed.
Rashid is a wicket-taker, pure and simple. He has performed the role brilliantly in the white-ball side and there have been signs in this series that he is capable of performing a similar role for the Test team. There are less drag-downs and full tosses than previously and more rippers, but inconsistency remains his greatest weakness.
He can turn the ball both ways and, as a wrist-spinner, he'll always be able to find more turn than Ali or Leach but while doubts remain over whether the captain would trust him to bowl in a tight game, he may be considered something of a luxury.
Ali is probably at the head of the pack for now but with eight months until the Ashes, there is still time for Leach and Rashid to push their claim.
What they said
JOE ROOT: "I thought we were very good for the whole game. At times we were under pressure and responded. We could have lost a cluster of wickets but stayed calm and managed to find ways of getting back control. I couldn't be more proud of the guys."
JACK LEACH: "Unbelievable, it's a really great feeling. [Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid] have helped me so much. We had to battle hard yesterday, there were tough moments."
DAVID LLOYD: "It has been a great experience for these spinners and the captain. I think he has really enjoyed his captaincy out in these conditions. It was a bit twitchy in the media this morning but when Dickwella got out I think it was plain sailing for England. They bowled very well and caught brilliantly."
Tweets of the day
England’s first series win in Sri Lanka for 17 years, first win in Asia for 6 years and first overseas anywhere for nearly 3 years. Root era well and truly up and running now— Nick Hoult (@NHoultCricket) November 18, 2018
Winning in Sri Lanka doesn’t happen often,It might be 450am but this is some achievement by the England team,Not the greatest Sri Lankan team but who cares,this England Test team under @root66 are starting to look very nice indeed & some say he isn’t a Captain ... #OnOn— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) November 18, 2018
Watch the third Test between Sri Lanka and England from 4am, Friday on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.