Sri Lanka vs England: Rangana Herath’s focus is on Galle win, before resuming banking day job
Rangana Herath has taken 99 Test wickets in Galle. @AFP

Rangana Herath, the outgoing Sri Lanka spinner, is focused squarely on spinning the hosts to a victory over England in the first Test in Galle, after which he will retire and return to his day job at the bank he has worked at for 18 years.

Herath, Sri Lanka’s second-highest wicket-taker in Tests and the most successful left-arm spinner ever, has claimed 99 wickets in Galle at an average of 24.31 and needs one wicket to become the second Sri Lankan after Muttiah Muralitharan to manage 100 there.

Speaking to The National, the 40-year-old left-arm spinner emphasised that giving Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the series before he quits is the priority.

“For the next few days my whole focus will be on the England game and how to win it for my team,” said Herath. “It’s hard to say how the game will pan out for me and for the team but nothing can be better than a win on my final Test. If I achieve the 100-wicket milestone at the venue, it will be good, but I won’t lose sleep over it if I didn’t. A win over England will be the best result for me. I have had some very good moments in Galle, and if I’m lucky, end my international career with another.”

With Stuart Broad a doubtful starter in Galle as the visitors bank on spin, Herath can moved past the England pace bowler in the all-time Test bowling table if he claims five wickets in his farewell Test.

After he bows out of international cricket, Herath said he will go back to his day job at Sampath Bank, whom he is indebted to for their support during his record-breaking Test career.

“The job provided me with financial stability to play cricket,” he said. “I did two other jobs before joining the bank in the year 2000 and they have supported my cricket all through until now. The bank gave me time off to play cricket full time and I always knew I had a job I can always return to, if I wasn’t successful in cricket. I will be done with international cricket from next week and return to my day job. That’s what I enjoy after cricket.”