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Rangana Herath set to retire after England series

Ram Kumar
23 Jul 2018, 23:00 IST

Rangana Herath
Rangana Herath is currently the ninth highest wicket-taker in Test history

Sri Lankan spin legend Rangana Herath has confirmed that the upcoming home series against England will mark his final appearance in the game.

The 40-year old, who played an instrumental role in spinning his team to a 2-0 series triumph against the visiting South African team, reaffirmed his decision to retire from all cricket in November.

Speaking to Roshan Abeysinghe at the end of the Colombo Test, Herath quipped, "Very pleased. (Especially) winning the game and winning the series against the number two side. Wherever you go and take wickets, you like the ground. I like Galle and SSC as hunting grounds. The harder ball gives a bit of assistance for the spinners. There was not much spin as the ball got softer, but we bowled well throughout the series."

When asked about the prospect of retiring at the top of his game, Herath felt, "Everybody has a time to go and that's why I have decided to stop playing cricket. There is one more series to go (against England). Hope to do well."

Earlier this month, Herath had hinted at his retirement plans during an interview with BBC Sinhala. While he had placed an asterix in the form of 'maybe' at that time, the veteran spinner has now effectively authenticated his decision.

The forthcoming three-match series against England will be Sri Lanka's next assignment in Test cricket. The first Test will take place from November 6 at Galle. Following the conclusion of the second Test at Kandy, the series as well as Herath's memorable career is set to come to an end along with the third Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Ground.

The Colombo Test, which begins on November 23, will fittingly bring the curtains on Herath's incredible journey in the traditional format. At the SSC alone, he has picked 84 wickets from only 14 Tests. He will get another opportunity to add to those scalps.

On a surface offering slow turn, Herath's 6/98 in the visitors' second innings helped Sri Lanka break South Africa's newfound resolve and surge to a series clean-sweep. The effort, incredibly, is his 12th five-wicket haul in the fourth innings of Test matches.

Overall, Herath has collected 34 five-wicket hauls from his 92 appearances at Test level. He is currently fifth on the all-time list behind Anil Kumble (35), Sir Richard Hadlee (36), Shane Warne (37) and then former teammate Muttiah Muralitharan who has a staggering 67 five-fors.

Herath's tally of 430 scalps currently places him at ninth spot in the all-time list of wicket-takers in Tests. If he can obtain five more wickets from his final series, the iconic left-arm spinner will leapfrog the likes of Hadlee and Kapil Dev to move into the seventh position.

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