By Michael Stafford-Jones
- England beat Sri Lanka in all three Tests to earn first-ever whitewash in Asia*
- Moeen Ali took 18 wickets, Leach also grabbed 18 and Rashid earned 12
- Joe Root, Keaton Jennings, Ben Foakes and Jonny Bairstow hit centuries
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – Bold batting, superb spin bowling and brilliant fielding from England’s players enabled their team to record a historic whitewash in Sri Lanka.
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Rory Burns – 6/10 – He scored one fifty and made an encouraging start to his Test career without ever setting the world alight. He looks comfortable at the crease and needs to avoid soft dismissals in the Caribbean.
Keaton Jennings – 6/10 – Although he scored a superb century in Galle, he only managed a paltry total of 87 runs in his five other innings and must make runs against the West Indies. He also took several outstanding catches at short leg.
Jonny Bairstow – 8/10 – Returned to the side with a point to prove in the Third Test and scored an emphatic century to stake a very strong claim for the number three spot. If he continues to make runs there in the Caribbean, he could keep the position for years to come.
Joe Root – 8/10 – It was a dream series for the captain in many ways. He set a perfect example with his wonderful hundred in Kandy and led his team very intelligently in the field. Root will be determined to back up this triumph with another one against the West Indies.
Jos Buttler – 8/10 – He made two of the most stylish sixties you are ever likely to see from a tourist in Asia and showed his teammates just how productive positive batting can be in such conditions. He fielded superbly too and will relish the team’s next challenge.
Ben Stokes – 8/10 – An excellent all-round contribution: he scored two battling fifties, took five wickets with aggressive, short-pitched bowling and fielded like a demon. More of the same in the Caribbean please.
Moeen Ali – 8/10 – He is England’s most threatening spin bowler and can make it three good series in a row if he torments the West Indies. He took a wicket every 41 balls against Sri Lanka to end up with 18 in the series. The less we say about his batting, the better.
Ben Foakes – 9/10 – He had the kind of debut series that dreams are made of. He scored a match-winning century in Galle and added 170 more runs in his other innings to finish as England’s top-scorer. Just as importantly, he demonstrated why he is considered one of the world’s best keepers.
Sam Curran – 6/10 – He makes this list for two vital innings – 48 in the first innings in Galle and 64 in the first innings in Kandy. However, he needs to take wickets in the West Indies or his place may be in doubt for future tours.
Adil Rashid – 7/10 – He deservedly earned career-best figures of 5-49 with a brilliant spell in Colombo and picked up several other crucial wickets during the series. He also scored 113 important runs and is growing into his role in the side.
Jack Leach – 9/10 – The slow left-armer enjoyed a fantastic series. He took at least two wickets in five of the six innings to finish with 18 in total. He also gave England the control they have been searching for from a spinner and this ability could be vital in the Caribbean.
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Dimuth Karunaratne – 7/10 – He averaged 42.66 in the series and he looks to be a class act at the top of the order. Sri Lanka can build their team around players like him.
Kaushal Silva – 1/10 – He made just 41 runs in 4 innings and was dropped for the Third Test.
Dhananjaya de Silva – 5/10 – He demonstrated his ability by scoring two good fifties but he was out cheaply in his other four innings.
Kusal Mendis – 5/10 – After five low scores, he batted brilliantly to score 86 in the last innings of the series and almost carry his team to a record-breaking victory.
Angelo Matthews – 7/10 – Showed why he is considered the best batsman in Sri Lanka with excellent scores of 88, 53 and 52. He would improve the ODI team too if he was restored to that side.
Roshen Silva – 7/10 – He looks like a very good batsman. He made 85 in Kandy and 65 in Colombo to reduce the gap between the sides after he was not selected in Galle.
Niroshan Dickwella – 4/10 – He clearly has ability as a batsman – and he showed it during quick-fire cameos of 35, 28 and 25 – but he must be more disciplined with his shot selection if he is to start making big scores. He also needs to get better at deciding whether his team should refer decisions.
Dilruwan Perera – 8/10 – He was leading wicket-taker in the series with 22 victims and he took three or more wickets in five of the six innings.
Akila Dananjaya – 5/10 – Came back from a poor display in the First Test to earn his best figures – 6-115 – in the second match. He missed the Third Test after his action was reported but he has potential.
Suranga Lakmal – 3/10 – Toiled hard on difficult pitches for seam bowling and took three wickets in the first innings in Galle. However, he only added one to that total during the rest of the series. He was unconvincing as a captain.
Lakshan Sandakan – 7/10 – He was brought in for the final Test in Colombo and dismissed Bairstow, Root, Buttler and Stokes en route to career-best figures of 5-95. He took 2-76 in the second innings.
*In a series of more than two Tests
The First Test between England and the West Indies begins in Bridgetown at 2pm GMT on the 23rd January.
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