Sri Lanka vs England: Joe Root’s team just the second ever to win 3-0 in Asia
Joe Root's England have completed a famous 3-0 sweep of Sri Lanka. @AFP

With a 42-run win over hosts Sri Lanka on day four in Colombo, Joe Root’s England has grabbed itself a slice of history. This marks just the third instance of a non-Asian team sweeping a Test series in Asia 3-0, and the first by any other team than Australia.

The moment came when Jack Leach trapped Sri Lanka captain Suranga Lakmal lbw for 11 on Monday at the SSC.

SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs England, 3rd Test, Colombo

Having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series with victory at Pallekele, Root became the first England captain since Nasser Hussain in 2001 to win a Test series in Sri Lanka. A clean sweep at the SSC on Monday has made Root the third captain after Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting in the early 2000s to win a Test series in Asia 3-0 and put England back at No 2 in the ICC Test rankings as they plot their return to No 1.

Under Waugh, Australia beat Pakistan 3-0 in 2002 in a series split between Sri Lanka and the UAE. The series began in Colombo where Waugh’s team won a gruelling Test by 41 runs – in which Shane Warne claimed 11 wickets – and then moved to Sharjah where in oppressively humid conditions the Australians crushed Pakistan by an innings in the second and third Tests.

Two seasons later, with Waugh retired, Ponting’s all-conquering team landed in Sri Lanka. Warne was making his comeback from a year’s suspension for taking a banned diuretic before the 2003 World Cup and there was plenty of speculation about how he would fare in a contest that pitted him against Muttiah Muralitharan. Warne answered everyone with 26 wickets in three Tests, including back-to-back hauls of 10 wickets in the first two Tests and then taking his 500th in Handy.

Australia beat Sri Lanka by 197 runs27 runs and 121 runs to claim another 3-0 sweep in Asia – a feat that had not been matched until Monday.