Stats: Rangana Herath becomes the leading left-arm wicket-taker in Test history
Sri Lanka's spin maestro Rangana Herath has overtaken the legendary Wasim Akram's tally of 414 scalps to become the highest wicket-taker among all left-arm bowlers in the illustrious history of Test cricket. The veteran spinner obtained the record towards the end of the second Test against Bangladesh at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday.
Resuming the third day's play with a lead of 312 runs, Sri Lanka added 27 more runs to their overnight tally and set a daunting fourth innings target of 339 for Bangladesh. On a pitch deteriorating sharply and turning square, the hosts collapsed in a heap and conceded the match by 215 runs.
As he so often does in the business stages of Test matches, Herath was at it again. The fourth innings master picked up the wickets of Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim to drive Sri Lanka into an impregnable position.
Fittingly, Herath sealed the game for Sri Lanka by prising out the last scalp of Taijul Islam. While his team won the series 1-0, the wily left-arm spinner extended his career wickets tally to 415 and overhauled Akram's longstanding record. After going wicket-less in Bangladesh's first innings, he had come into his own during the final innings of the match.
Interestingly, during 2017, Herath had broken the all time record for the most number of wickets by left-arm spinners in Test cricket. That particular feat had also come against Bangladesh. Between then and now, he played ten Tests and picked 49 wickets.
Including the second Test at Dhaka, the 39-year old spinner has represented Sri Lanka in 89 Tests and collected 415 wickets at an average of 28.17 and strike-rate of exactly 60 with a whopping 33 five-wicket hauls as well as 9 ten-wicket match hauls. In fact, only four bowlers in Test history have picked more five-wicket hauls than the iconic left-armer.
From 104 Tests, Akram grabbed 414 scalps at a remarkable average of 23.62 and strike-rate of 54.6. Thus far, only the two left-arm bowlers have managed to breach the 400-wicket mark in the traditional format.
With 362 wickets from 113 Tests, New Zealand's Daniel Vettori occupies the third spot in the all time list of left-arm bowlers. The seam trio of Chaminda Vaas, Mitchell Johnson and Zaheer Khan are the other left-armers to pick more than 300 wickets.
The likes of Derek Underwood, Bishan Singh Bedi and Sir Garry Sobers have also been quite prolific at Test level. While the England legend finished just three short of the 300-wicket mark, the elegant Indian spinner accounted for 266 wickets during his stellar career between 1967 and 1979. With his unique combination of seam and spin (both chinaman and orthodox), the exalted Caribbean all-rounder gathered 235 scalps from 93 matches.
Aside from Herath, Trent Boult is the only active bowler in the all time list of top ten left-arm bowlers in Tests. The world-class exponent of swing and seam currently has exactly 200 wickets to his name from just 52 matches.
Top 10 left-arm bowlers in Tests
(*Note: All Statistics are accurate as of 10th February, 2018)