Joe Root says winning 3-0 in Sri Lanka would give England the confidence to chase the world number one Test team ranking. England will bid to complete a rare series clean sweep when they take on the depleted hosts in the third and final test in Colombo on Friday.
Only Ricky Ponting’s all-conquering Australian outfit of 14 years ago and Virat Kohli’s current world number ones India – in August last year – have managed to whitewash the Sri Lankans on home soil and Root believes his side can emulate those achievements.
“Only two sides have won 3-0 here… and they were both the number one side,” Root, whose side ended a 17-year wait for a series win in Sri Lanka, told reporters this week. “So it would give the guys a huge amount of confidence if we could carry the momentum, skill levels and smart nature with which we’ve played these first two tests into the next one.”
The series win has taken England up to second place in the Test rankings behind India, who they beat 4-1 at home this year, and Root feels his players are now better-equipped to win on the subcontinent. “It would be a nice follow-on to this tour to be going on and playing in India now,” he added.
“It’s a very difficult place to go and play, but we would have a good chance. Better than we had previously. “It’s hard to say (how we would do), but the most important thing is that we’re on that upward curve. We’re where we want to be.”