It's been a privilege and an honour, says retiring Herath

By Sports Desk November 09, 2018

Rangana Herath reflected on the "privilege and honour" of representing Sri Lanka following his final Test appearance.

The 40-year-old left-arm spinner was unable to enjoy a dream send-off as his side were thumped by 211 runs in the first Test against England in Galle.

Herath was run out to bring the contest to an end on day four, but he was still able to look back with immense pride on a five-day career that yielded 433 wickets - the eighth-highest figure in Tests.

"In this scenario, it's a bit of an emotional situation. But everybody has to take a decision at the right time," Herath told Sky Sports shortly after leaving the field to a warm ovation.

"I'm thankful for all those years that I have played, those people who have been behind me, especially the team-mates, Sri Lanka Cricket, all the people. I must thank every single person behind me.

"It's been a privilege and an honour to play for my country. In Sri Lanka, we have 22 million people. Very few people get the opportunity to play for Sri Lanka, so it's a remarkable achievement for any player.

"Of course, I'm so proud playing for Sri Lanka, especially in this team. Cricket has given me a lot, I have a lot of respect for the game."

Although Sri Lanka were well beaten in Galle, Herath - who intends to play on in first-class cricket - spoke with optimism about the team's future.

"Of course, as always, losing is not a good result for any team, but this is part of the game," he added. "We didn't play the cricket we used to play. Hopefully the guys will come back strongly for the second and third [Tests].

"I'm 100 per cent confident in the talent we have. If you take the recent past against South Africa, against Australia, we have had a very good winning mindset. We need to get that back. I'm sure the guys will do."

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    A 57-run victory in Pallekele secured the series win for England - a first away from home since January 2016 and a first in Sri Lanka since 2001.

    Root had challenged his players to be bold in the second of three Tests and his own 124 in the second innings made a significant contribution to the victory, earning him the Man of the Match award.

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    England returned on day five needing only three wickets to make sure of the win and they cleaned up the Sri Lankan tail in just 31 minutes.

    "We were pretty confident," Root continued. "We knew we'd be able to create three chances on that surface, but we also recognised that when partnerships developed it became quite difficult.

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    Root believes the performance demonstrates a tremendous strength in depth in England at the moment.

    "Look at the guys we've got on the sidelines," he added. "We've got some very exciting young players and a lot of experience, and for Stuart Broad [and Jonny Bairstow] to have no played a part in this series shows the strength of the squad, and the adaptability as well.

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    "It's nice to be in a position where all 17 guys could walk into the team and it wouldn't look any less balanced, or out of place in these conditions."

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    Akila Dananjaya and Jack Leach took eight wickets apiece, while Dilruwan Perera was one off that pair with seven and Moeen Ali boasted six scalps.

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    The final Test of the series begins in Colombo on Friday.

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