England registered a Test series sweep for the first time since Ted Dexter's side won 3-0 in New Zealand in 1963. @ Getty Images
England registered a Test series sweep for the first time since Ted Dexter’s side won 3-0 in New Zealand in 1963. @ Getty Images

Skipper Joe Root led England to their first overseas series sweep in 55 years after they beat Sri Lanka by 42 runs in the third and final Test on Monday.

Spinners Jack Leach and Moeen Ali took four wickets each to help bowl out Sri Lanka, chasing a daunting 327 for victory, for 284 in the final session on day four in Colombo.

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Leach got captain Suranga Lakmal trapped lbw for 11 to trigger celebrations for England who have not won all the games in a series of three or more Tests since Ted Dexter‘s side won 3-0 in New Zealand in 1963.

Number 11 Malinda Pushpakumara gave England a scare with his unbeaten 42 off 40 deliveries, lifting the hosts from 226/9 and raise hopes of a miracle. But Leach broke the 58-run last wicket stand in the fourth ball of the final session.

Kusal Mendis, who hit a gritty 86, and Roshen Silva, who made 65, put on 102 runs for the sixth wicket to launch Sri Lanka’s resistance campaign on a turning wicket.

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Leach broke the stand with a one-handed pick-up and a bullet throw at the non-striker’s end that got Mendis run out.

Mendis, who started the day on 15, registered his seventh Test fifty as he smashed eight fours and a six during his defiant knock. Silva hit a fighting half-century but was finally trapped lbw by Ali.

England were bowled out for 230 in their second innings on Sunday with Jos Buttler making a crucial 64 after they had fallen to 39/4 against the opposition spinners.

Jonny Bairstow, returning from injury, made his presence felt with 110 in England’s first innings of 336 after they elected to bat first.

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Leg-spinner Adil Rashid then claimed five wickets to help dismiss Sri Lanka for 240 as the tourists took a crucial lead into the second innings. It was a complete domination by the touring England side which clinched the one-day internationals 3-1 and the only Twenty20 match.

Brief scores: England 336 & 230 (Jos Buttler 64; Dilruwan Perera 5/88) beat Sri Lanka 240 & 284 all out (Kusal Mendis 86; Jack Leach 4/72, Moeen Ali 4/92) by 42 runs to sweep series 3-0

(Agency)