Joe Root and Jack Leach were the big stars as England won the second of three Tests in Sri Lanka to win their first Test series in the nation since 2001.
Sri Lanka folded for 243 in pursuit of a 301-run target as England claimed a 57-run victory at Pallekele International Stadium on Sunday, 18 November.
"Brilliant Test match, I thought we were very good in the whole game really," said Root, the England captain, after the win was registered quickly on the fifth morning. "At times we were under pressure and we responded really well to that. Can't be more proud of the guys."
A resolute knock of 85 from Roshen Silva helped Sri Lanka clinch a first-innings lead of 46 runs after England had put up 290 in their first hit. However, a spirited 124 from Root saw the visitors gallop to a 300-run lead after their second innings, which proved well beyond Sri Lanka.
"Sri Lanka played brilliantly in both innings but we stayed calm and managed to find ways to get back in the game," pointed out Root. "We played some close games against India, and this was similar to that. Really pleasing to see the result going our way.
"We have been courageous at times. As a whole squad, we have done really well. We've got to keep looking to improve, can't keep still. We want to get to the No.1 rank in the world at some point and we've got to be consistent to do that.
"There are competitions for places within the squad. We need to keep taking opportunities that are in store for us."
England's spin attack was exceptional through the game, claiming 19 of Sri Lanka's 20 wickets – Karunaratne was run out in the first innings – on a dry surface. While Leach was the pick of the bowlers with eight wickets in the match, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid chipped in with six and four wickets respectively.
"It was a turning wicket in both innings, but we were unlucky in this match," rued Sri Lanka skipper Suranga Lakmal. "It was a good game and it was a challenging wicket. Both sides played good cricket – 250 (target) would have been good but 300 was a bit too much."