Herath, who is inarguably one of the finest spinners in world cricket currently, has so far picked up 430 wickets in 92 Tests at an impressive average of 27.95. He is the tenth-highest wicket-taker in the world and only second on Sri Lanka's leading wicket-takers charts behind Muttiah Muralitharan, who has 800 wickets. 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 international debut in 1999 but with Muralitharan in the side, he could not cement his place till the off-spinner's retirement in 2010. Since then though Herath has been the cornerstone of Sri Lanka's bowling attack and his retirement is bound to leave a massive hole in the spin department.
Herath's retirement talks have been floating around for some time now and it was understood he would call time on his career after the end of the three-match Test series against England. But, having grappled with knee injuries for a while coupled with carrying the nation's spin department for the last eight years seems to have played a role in an earlier than expected announcement.
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. 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. Muralitharan (Galle- 111, Asgiriya - 117 and SSC - 166) and James Anderson (Lord's - 103) are the only two bowlers to hold the record of taking 100 wickets at a single venue.
The first Test between England and Sri Lanka will be played at the Galle International Stadium from November 6.
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First Published: October 22, 2018, 10:40 AM IST