Joe Root targets World No 1 spot after England seal win in Sri Lanka
"We said we were going to come out here and play bold cricket, be courageous at times, and everyone has bought into that and we have seen the rewards."
Last Updated: 18/11/18 5:30pm
Joe Root has set his sights on taking England to the top of the Test rankings after winning his first series away from home as captain.
Spinner Jack Leach completed his maiden five-wicket haul as England dismissed Sri Lanka for 243 on the final morning in Kandy to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series with one match to play, in Colombo from Friday.
The victory is England's first in a Test series on the road since their 2-1 triumph in South Africa in 2016 under Alastair Cook and first in Sri Lanka since the Nasser Hussain-led side of 2001.
"We have to keep looking to improve. We don't want to stand still - we have seen this group grow in the last six to eight months but we are not the finished article," said Root, whose side sit third in the ICC Test rankings at present.
"We want to get to No 1 in the world at some point and we are going to have to be really consistent in all parts of the world to do that.
"If we keep the same attitude, drive and competition for places we will give ourselves a really good chance of getting what we want. I couldn't be more proud of the guys."
Root set the tone in England's second innings with quick-fire 124 from 146 balls after his team had slipped to 109-4 - the tourists eventually racking up 346 before Sri Lanka fell short in their pursuit of 301 to lose by 57 runs.
"We said we were going to come out here and play bold cricket, be courageous at times, and everyone has bought into that and we have seen the rewards," added Root, who has now notched 15 Test centuries.
"It would be very easy to talk a good game but we have backed it up as a whole squad - not just the 11 on the field.
"The guys that missed out have all been in the hunt to play and worked extremely hard, pushing the guys in the XI. We have done really well.
"There are some very exciting young guys on the sidelines who haven't played a huge amount and then guys with a lot of experience as well.
"For Stuart Broad not to have played a part shows the strength and adaptability in the squad.
"We could have played a very different-looking but similarly well-balanced side around the world so it feels like we are in a really good position at the moment.
"All 17 guys could walk into the team and wouldn't feel out of place.
"The beauty of this team is the depth we have in our batting - [Adil] Rashid is coming in at 10 at times and he is more than capable of making big scores.
"There is no sense of 'leave it to someone else' - guys have stood up and shouldered that responsibility really well."
A record 38 wickets in the second Test fell to spin - Ben Stokes' run out of Dimuth Karunaratne and Suranga Lakmal's dismissal of Keaton Jennings the exceptions - with England trio Leach, Rashid and Moeen Ali taking 18 scalps between them.
Root, who also removed Niroshan Dickwella with his off-spin in Sri Lanka's first innings, says his spinners have improved on the tour and that he has also learnt more about how to captain when they are bowling.
"I think you have seen a big improvement and development in all three of them - to shoulder that pressure and go on and win the game was really pleasing," said Root.
"When you see it spin there is that expectation on yourselves at times to go and take clusters of wickets. You find that if you over-attack it can be quite difficult.
"You can leak [runs] and then the pressure is back on. It's about trying to get that right balance between attack and defence."
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
On England's victory in the second Test, Root added: "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."
Watch the third Test between Sri Lanka and England from 4am, Friday on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.