Show of sportsmanship: Steve Smith praises Australia’s ‘tormentor-in-chief’ Rangana Herath

Australia lost the Test series against Sri Lanka 3-0, something which is not a commonplace thing for them. It is only the second time that they have gone down to the Lankans in a Test series and only the first occasion the Australians have been blanked by them. Despite the heavy defeat, Australian skipper Steve Smith has managed to keep calm and retained his composure to introspect the reasons. ALSO READ: Rangana Herath: The wizard who works in a bank.

Well, they don’t need to figure out the most obvious of those reasons. Rangana Herath, the wily old fox of Sri Lanka was the ‘tormentor-in-chief’ as the Kangaroos simply had no answer to his guile. They say when you go down to a better opponent; there is no shame in admitting it. And this is exactly what the Australian captain has done, when he recently heaped praises on Herath.

In his column for the FoxSports, Smith wrote about Herath: “The bloke may be 37-years-old but he’s still a real handful as a bowler. I would know – he got me out five times out of six in this series! You’ve really got to earn your runs against Herath. He hardly ever gives you a loose ball so you have to be right on top of your game all the time. Plus, he admits that he often doesn’t know how much the ball is going to turn – so if he doesn’t know, the batsman doesn’t have much chance.” ALSO READ: Sri Lanka’s 1st whitewash against Australia and 18 other statistical highlights from Sri Lanka vs Australia, 3rd Test.

Smith then went on to reveal how he and his teammates had a nice time with the Lankans after the match, where he spoke with Herath at length over a drink. “We actually had a drink with the Sri Lankans after the game, and I had a chat to Herath about his bowling tactics. I joked with him that he better stay retired from one-dayers because now I might finally be able to score some runs! He was gracious enough to explain little things like how he changes the trajectory of the ball just by adjusting the height of his arm, and how when there’s a breeze he puts the shiny side of the ball on the outside to try get the ball to drift,” wrote Smith.

Smith further opined that why Herath was so candid during their chat was perhaps because he won’t be a part of Sri Lankan set-up next time Australians hit the island nation’s shores. “I normally wouldn’t talk so openly with an opponent like that, but he got me out so often that I needed to try work out what to do! I really appreciated him being so open with me – I guess he figures he won’t be around next time we visit Sri Lanka so he can share a few of his tactics with us.” With Tests behind them, the two teams will now face-off in ODIs, which Herath won’t be a part of.