Joe Root
England's captain Joe Root (R) takes a catch as Jos Buttler looks on during a practice session at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on November 21, 2018. Image Credit: AFP

Colombi, Sri Lanka: England will be hoping to complete the rare feat of securing a 3-0 series sweep in Sri Lanka when Joe Root's confident touring side take on the depleted hosts in the third and final test on Friday.

Ricky Ponting's all-conquering Australian side were the first to win 3-0 in Sri Lanka 14 years ago, while a Virat Kohli-led India repeated the feat in August last year.

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Having ended a 17-year wait for a series win in Sri Lanka, England will climb a place to second in test rankings behind India, who they beat 4-1 at home this year, reversing a 4-0 away series loss to Kohli's side at the end of 2016.

"Only two sides have won 3-0 here... and they were both the number one side," Root 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."

"It would be a nice follow-on to this tour to be going on and playing in India now. It's a very difficult place to go and play, but we would have a good chance. Better than we had previously," he added.

"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," Root said.