Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner, has announced that the Galle Test against England, beginning November 6, will be his final international game. The 40-year-old, considered to be the most successful left-arm bowler (pace or spin) of all time, is the last active Test cricketer of the 90s.
SLC wishes to inform that Mr. Rangana Herath following a discussion he had with the SLC CEO and the selectors, notified his retirement from test cricket, after the 1st test match, in Galle against England. #ThankYouHerath https://t.co/4V6f6LjTpp pic.twitter.com/Cu12JQXZrv— Sri Lanka Cricket (@OfficialSLC) October 22, 2018
Herathmade his debut against Australia at the Galle International stadium in 1999 and it is fitting that he will play his last international match at the same venue next month. For the first nine years of Herath’s career, he was under the shadow of Muttiah Muralitharan, the best spinner in the world at that time as he played in only 14 Tests and took 36 wickets.
However, in the 2009 Test at Galle against Pakistan, he picked 4/15 in the second innings as Sri Lanka bowled Pakistan out for 117 in pursuit of 167. Following this performance, Herath, nicknamed Áiyya’ proved to be the match-winner for Sri Lanka and his career changed.
From 2009, Herath’s consistency was remarkable and he proved to be Sri Lanka’s ultimate match-winner following Muralitharan’s retirement in 2010. His best year was 2012 in which he picked up 60 wickets at an average of 23.61. He reserved his best for Pakistan, becoming the first and only bowler so far to take 100 Test wickets against them.
His crowning glory came in 2016 in the series against Australia. He picked up 28 wickets at an average of 12.75 as Sri Lanka achieved their first-ever 3-0 whitewash of Australia. Herath is only the third bowler in Test history to take five-wicket hauls against every nation after Dale Steyn and Muralitharan.
In his final Test, Herath, with 430 wickets, has the chance to join Muralitharan in taking 100 wickets at the venue and has a chance to go past Sir Richard Hadlee’s mark of 431 and possibly Kapil Dev’s mark of 434 wickets. His retirement will leave a massive void not only in Sri Lanka but in world cricket.