Rangana Herath did not have the ultimate farewell that he desired in his final outing as a Sri Lankan international cricketer. England’s 211-run was their first-ever in Galle and with Herath’s retirement, Sri Lanka’s bowling stocks have been severely depleted as they aim to come back in the series.
In the post-match press conference, Herath, visibly emotional, thanked the support he had received from everyone following his comeback in the side in 2009. “The support from my wife, kids and my immediate family members has been amazing. I really appreciate the support and without that I don't think I could have got to where I am right now,” Herath said.
When asked about his life after his retirement, the 40-year-old veteran said, “I need to start another life. I might go to my club and may play some first-class cricket.”
Herath’s retirement leaves a massive void in the Sri Lankan set-up that has still not recovered from the retirement of legends like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
However, Herath’s records are staggering. His 433 wickets are not only the most by a left-arm spinner but also the most by a left-arm bowler ever. Herath is only the third player after Muralitharan and James Anderson to take 100 wickets in one venue. The left-armer achieved this feat in Galle during the England Test.
Herath is the second Sri Lanka bowler after Nuwan Zoysa to take a hat-trick in Tests. He accomplished this in 2016 against Australia at Galle and his exploits in that series, 28 wickets in three Tests, helped Sri Lanka whitewash Australia 3-0.
The 40-year-old is also the third bowler in Tests to have taken a five-wicket haul against nine Test playing nations, behind Muralitharan and South Africa’s Dale Steyn. The left-armer's retirement marks an end to the list of active players who had debuted in the 90s.