Rangana Herath said on the eve of his farewell Test match that this was “the high time, the right time” to retire from the sport.
Herath, 40, is No.10 on the all-time Test wicket-takers' list with 430 strikes. If he can take more than four wickets in the first Test against England in Galle, he’ll move up to No.7, leapfrogging Sir Richard Hadlee (431), Stuart Broad (433) and Kapil Dev (434), but, of course, this being his last Test and with Broad nowhere near finishing up, that might change.
Herath made his debut at the same Galle International Stadium in 1999, and retiring at the venue will be an emotional affair.
It's the great Rangana Herath's farewell match, and Sri Lanka will look to make it memorable. Can England spoil the party?#SLvENG PREVIEW ⬇️https://t.co/P1JhJK8DTP pic.twitter.com/hxXhGu2VwG— ICC (@ICC) November 6, 2018
“Of course (it will be emotional),” Herath told presspersons on the eve of the match. “I played international cricket from 1999, before that I played school cricket and junior level cricket. When you retire from cricket, that you love, of course it's a sad moment.
“When you are ending your career, it is not an easy decision to take. You need to take the decision at the right time and I decided this is high time, the right time to stop playing international cricket.”
England, in their last series – against India – bid adieu to Alastair Cook, who had a fairy-tale finale when he scored 71 and 147 against India.
Wishing @HerathRSL all the very best in his last test for @OfficialSLC . Last of the Togans who I had the pleasure of playing alongside. Truly a champion. Have fun #Toga 👍— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) November 5, 2018
Herath said he was hopeful of a flurry of wickets “as always” against an England side weakened without Cook. “When you are playing against any country, when they lose a player like Alastair Cook – with that experience, his records – it's going to be a help for us in this series." he said.
Herath is just one wicket away from claiming 100 scalps in Galle – a record he will share with Muttiah Muralitharan.