It’s a very special win: Joe Root after sealing series against Sri Lanka
England won a Test series in Sri Lanka after 17 long years. (AFP Image)

Ecstatic at England‘s first series win on Sri Lankan soil in 17 years, skipper Joe Root acknowledged the team effort put together by his players. England notched up their second consecutive Test series win with a 57-run win in the second Test at Pallekele with spinners Jack Leach and Moeen Ali sharing nine wickets to bowl Sri Lanka out for 243, who had to chase down 301 to level the series.

“It’s very special,” Root said. “The guys have worked extremely hard. We’ve planned very well for it. We said we were going to play in a certain manner and we’ve backed that up completely in the two games. And that’s probably the most pleasing thing. We’ve stuck to our guns. You look at the make-up of squad. It fits very well with the make-up of individuals. In this part of the world, on surfaces which spin dramatically, it can be very difficult to trust your defence.”

“We saw that as an opportunity to play in that manner in these conditions. It might be different in other parts of world, but the more we can be adaptable, the more we can play situation and read what is happening out in the middle, the more consistent we will become. And hopefully the better we’ll travel around the world.”

Root stated that England never looked back following the defeat at the hands of New Zealand in March, after which they regrouped to win the Christchurch Test. From there, England defeated India 4-1 at home, two of which were convincing wins. And once they were done beating the No. 1 Test side in the world, England blossomed even further in Sri Lanka, where adapting to pitches can be a huge task for a non-sub-continent team. The efficiency with which the England batsmen executed the sweep shot was exemplary.

“It felt like we had a breakthrough moment at the start of the Christchurch Test match,” said Root. “Sort of turned a corner. We had a little blip in the first Test versus Pakistan but since that moment we’ve really gone on an upward curve.

“That was where we stripped things back a little bit and tried to give real clarity. We’d had a really tough time of it up until then that winter and it was a real good chance for us to draw a line under it. Get a clean slate and start something and since that point I think we’ve really looked to continue our improvement and I think we’re seeing our reward now.”

What makes the win sweeter is that players like Stuart Broad, Jonny Bairstow were not even needed, while players like Keaton Jennings revived himself following the dismal series against India. One of the many positives for England was the finding of Ben Foakes, who scored a century and fifty in the first and second Tests, both extremely crucial.

“You’re making it sound like they’re not going to play for England again! They’re definitely a big part of this squad, said the England captain. “I wouldn’t say it’s a new England, I’d say it’s the same England team from the summer that is improving. The work that they’ve done, the pressure they’re putting on the guys in the starting XI to keep improving, they’re driving the standards up all the time. Having that strength in depth has been a massive contributor to these wins. They should not underestimate the work that they’ve done around the two games.”