Captain Joe Root can take England “on a journey that we will really enjoy watching”, says former skipper Michael Vaughan.
England beat Sri Lanka by 57 runs in the second Test in Pallekele to seal Root’s first overseas series win since taking charge in February 2017.
It was also their first series victory in Sri Lanka in 17 years.
“They will be a team that youngsters will like watching and will try and copy,” Vaughan told BBC Sport.
Root scored 124 in the second innings – the highest score by an England captain in Sri Lanka – to set up a victory that gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Vaughan, who captained England in 51 of his 82 Tests, said: “If there’s one individual I would pick out – and the reason England are winning is because every single player has contributed – Joe Root is the one.
“To win overseas for the first time as skipper in the way he has, it’s a big achievement for him.”
The final Test in Colombo starts at 04:30 GMT on Friday.
‘Root deserves huge credit’
Root has overseen series victories at home against South Africa and India since taking over as captain from Alastair Cook.
However, England lost the Ashes 4-0 in Australia last winter on his first tour in charge, and were bowled out for 58 on the way to a 1-0 series defeat in New Zealand this year.
Root urged his players to be bold in Sri Lanka, and their positive approach paid off in the opening two Tests.
“The Test match team is always down to the captain. It is him that has to bear the grudge of any disappointment, any negative,” Vaughan, 44, said.
“The captain gets the final say on the way that the team play and tactical manoeuvres.
“I would give Root a huge amount of credit for everything that’s happening.”
Vaughan said he sees similarities between the Test team and the one-day side, who have risen to number one in the world rankings under Eoin Morgan.
“Many called for Morgan to be dispatched from the one-day job after the last World Cup,” Vaughan said.
“He has kind of thrived on the back of the confidence boost that he got from keeping the job, and I see a similar thing with Root.
“I really feel that he could take this Test match team on a journey that we will really enjoy watching.”
Regardless of the outcome of the third Test, England will move up to second in the International Cricket Council rankings after the series at South Africa’s expense, with only India above them.
‘Root wants to be captain’
Vaughan won 26 Tests – an England record as skipper – lost 11 and drew 14 during his time in charge between 2003 and 2008.
Under Root, England have won 11 of their 22 Tests.
He has known Root since he was a youngster, with both players beginning their career at Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club.
Vaughan said a captain must be a “really good person and willing to understand people”.
“The first thing I look for in any captain is do they really want to be a captain – and Joe does,” he said.
“I know how much he is interested in managing people and managing certain aspects of different personalities, and that’s what leadership is all about.
“It’s easy to focus on what we see visually but it’s difficult to understand what is happening behind the scenes, in terms of man-management. I see him and speak to him a little bit and understand that he gets that.”