Having helped Sri Lanka end Pakistan’s unbeaten run in UAE, veteran spinner Rangana Herath has now set his sights on winning a Test match in India.
The only places Sri Lanka are yet to win a Test are India and Australia. Sri Lanka will have to rely heavily on the left-arm spinner who only recently became the second Sri Lankan to take 400 Test wickets.
Herath, who took 16 wickets in the recent two-match series against Pakistan, led the show when they won in South Africa for the first time in 2011. Herath was named the Man of the Match after bagging nine wickets in Durban six years ago, helping his team record their first Test win in South Africa.
“It’s one of my dreams. How wonderful it would be to win a Test match in India as we have never won there before,” Herath told Cricbuzz.
“The series win in Pakistan has given us lot of confidence. That winning mentality is important. If we show the same fighting spirit that we showed against Pakistan, we can win in India,” Herath added.
India are ranked number one in the Tests and their solid batting line-up backed by the deadly combination of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin lends them a certain invincibility. To top it, the 39-year-old veteran believed that India’s excellent first-class structure prepared players well for challenges in international cricket.
“They have [a] lot of experience. They have an excellent first-class structure in India. If you take the Ranji Trophy, it prepares their players to play those big innings. It teaches their bowlers to think of different options when bowling on flat wickets. Whereas we don’t have those challenges. Only at ‘A’ team cricket, our players are prepared for those challenges,” Herath observed.
Sri Lanka’s first-class cricket – the Premier League tournament is played over three days and players often struggle to bridge the gap between first-class and Test cricket.
Herath struggled during the recent home series against India finishing with just five wickets in two Tests. He captained the first Test in Galle in the absence of the unwell Dinesh Chandimal and then missed the third and final Test at Pallekele due to a back strain.
“The India series at home, I wasn’t able to take wickets. All of us struggled. We were not able to break the partnerships and they went onto post 600-plus runs and from there on it was difficult for us. We missed a few chances as well. We need to plan as to what we have to do to get those 20 wickets,” concluded Herath.