While being reluctant to play the entire three-match Test series against England, Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath has announced his retirement from Test cricket, on Monday. The left-arm spinner has told the selectors that he won’t be able to participate in all the three matches, and hence, the first Test (at Galle), will be the last match of his career.
Rangana Herath also happens to be the most successful left-arm bowler in Test history. With 430 wickets in 92 matches, Herath is currently on the 10th spot of bowlers claiming the most number of Test wickets.
However, if he can scalp five more wickets in the first match, Herath will be ending his career as the 7th most wicket-taker in Test cricket, leaving behind Richard Hadlee (431 wickets), Stuart Broad (433 wickets), and Kapil Dev (434 wickets).
The match at Galle will be an emotional one for Rangana Herath. The orthodox spinner had made his Test debut at the same venue in 1999. Not only that, but his second coming to cricket also began at Galle in 2009. Also, he is just one wicket short to equal Muttiah Muralitharan’s record of taking 100 wickets at Galle.
Herath has led the Sri Lankan spin attack for a quite long time after Muralitharan’s departure. Perhaps, the pressure has taken a toll on the left-arm spinner. Hearth had missed quite a few matches in the last couple of years, due to injuries.
His absence will leave a massive void in the Sri Lankan team. The island nation has limited options to fall back on after Rangana Herath’s departure. Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, and Malinda Pushpakumara are the likely replacements for Sri Lankan cricket. However, the most experienced bowler amongst the current crop of bowlers, Dilruwan Perera is the only bowler to have featured in more than 10 Test matches only.
As he hangs his boots, Rangana Herath will also be the last active cricketer to have made his debut in the 1990s. The three-match Test series begins at Galle, starting from November 6. It will be interesting to see how the spinner fares in his last hurrah!