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Rangana Herath to retire from Test cricket after one last hurrah

Aditya Joshi
23 Jul 2018, 14:21 IST

Sri Lanka vs South Africa - 4th Day, 2nd Test
Sri Lanka vs South Africa - 4th Day, 2nd Test

Sri Lanka's quintessential hero in Test cricket for the better part of the last decade, Rangana Herath, has decided to call curtains on what has been a career of statistical and impactful magnificence. In his post-match speech after taking a gutsy six-wicket haul to hand South Africa a 199 run pounding, Herath announced that he will retire from Test cricket after one last hurrah in the form of the series against England coming later this year.

Speaking of the exhilaration of beating South Africa in a Test series after 12 long years, he said, "Of course, pleased. Especially winning the game and the series against the No. 2 team. I like Galle and SSC as hunting grounds. There was not much spin as the ball got softer, but we bowled well throughout the series."

And just when everyone was grateful for Herath being the diligent humble servant of Sri Lankan cricket and would probably be the one to lead them into a resurgent future in Test cricket after a few years of disappointment as a team, he dropped the bombshell.

Everybody has the time to go and that's why I have decided to stop cricket. There is one more series to go against England, hope to do well.

Ever since Muttiah Muralitharan stepped away in 2010, Herath led the Sri Lankan bowlers, and while he was fairly successful against every side in the world, toiling equally hard be the sandpits of Galle or the unforgiving strip of Perth, he is identified as the chief tormenter of the Pakistani side, taking 101 wickets against them.

The wizened left-arm spinner deceived batsmen with his canny guile, and was known for his ability to set them up with floating deliveries that spun away before one thundered with the angle into the batsmen's pads or sent the stumps rattling.

With 430 Test wickets and another series to go, he will comfortably end as Sri Lanka's second-highest wicket-taker in history, an impressive achievement for a player who, for a great part of his career had to play the second fiddle.

A loved figure across the cricket-mad island nation, Herath is currently the only active Test cricketer who debuted in the twentieth century, and his fighting spirit epitomized the unconventional way his side went about winning matches.

The most memorable of all his successes with the side was the series victory in England in 2014, where Herath aside from his pinpoint bowling, helped Sri Lanka to hold on to a draw in a thrilling Test at Lord's.

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