Monday, 22 April, 2019

Spin ace Herath to retire after first England Test

Rangana Herath. File Rangana Herath. File
Cassandra Castillo | 22 October, 2018, 13:56

Veteran spinner from Sri Lanka, Rangana Herath will bid farewell to the longest format of the game after the first Test against England at Galle.

Meanwhile, Herath will finish as the second highest wicket-taker of Sri Lanka after Muttiah Muralitharan. Among now active bowlers, he has the third best tally - behind James Anderson [564] and Stuart Broad [433] - on the bowlers' list. He has the chance to go past Sir Richard Hadlee (431), Stuart Broad (433) and Kapil Dev (434) in his last Test.The 40-year-old made his global debut in 1999 but with Muralitharan in the side, he could not cement his place till the off-spinner's retirement in 2010.

It is fitting in some ways that Herath ends his career in Galle, the same venue where he made his debut back in 1999 against Australia. Not only is he the 10th most successful Test bowler in history with 430 wickets, all but 36 of those dismissals came after he had turned 31, as he struggled to maintain a place in the Test side in the first decade of his career.

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Herath, 40, has not played a complete three-Test series since January 2017, having since left two India series early due to injury, before playing no more than one of the three Tests in West Indies in June this year. Rangana Herath picked 71 of his wickets in this phase at a paltry bowling average of 37.88. The form was carried forward into the new year and stayed with him for the entirety of the following 12 months as he emerged on top of the bowling charts in 2012 - with 60 Test wickets.

Even as Herath's habit of consistently taking wickets from 2011 has carried on all the way through to 2018 - 352 wickets since then - fitness has been an area of concern.

Herath has been the leader of Sri Lanka´s spin attack since the retirement of Muralitharan but the persistent knee injuries have limited his outings over the last few years. Of the remaining spinners only Dilruwan has played more than 10 Tests, however. He has so far picked up 99 wickets at the venue needing just one more wicket to join Muralitharan in having taken 100 wickets at the ground.

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