Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath stole the show on the third day of the second and last test between hosts Sri Lanka and Pakistan as he went on to take 9 wickets at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo. After Mahela disappointed the crowd on his last test, as he was dismissed for 4, it was Herath who was the star for the home team as the managed to stop Pakistan with a minimum first innings lead.
The slow left-armer took 9-127 as the hosts restricted Pakistan to 332 in their first innings, replying to 320. This the best bowling figures in a Test match in 12 years. Herath took 5 wickets on the second day and went to pick up 4 more on the third day to achieve this feat. In the morning session of the third day, Herath dismissed centurion Sarfraz Ahmed and the other tail-enders to achieve his feat. After Pakistan restricted the hosts to 320 in the first innings they were looking to gain a big lead as Sarfraz struck his maiden test hundred. But Herath dismissed him right after and then went on to complete his record haul by bowling Saeed Ajmal. Herath became the first left arm bowler to achieve such a record.
Sri Lanka has managed to take the edge on the third day. At stumps, they were comfortably placed at 177/2 after 36-year old Herath’s splendid performance. Herath has been in great form throughout the series. He picked up 9 wickets in the first match that Sri Lanka won by seven wickets at Galle. Although his performance was marred by the fact that Angelo Mathews steered his team to exciting win on the last day moments before heavy rain swept across Galle. In fact Herath has performed continuously in the last few months. He is the leading wicket taker in 2014 having picked up 55 wickets. He is well ahead of the next in the list, England’s fast bowler James Anderson with 38 wickets. Meanwhile the last bowler to get 9 wickets in an innings was Herath’s former teammate Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 9-51 against Zimbabwe at Kandy in 2002. Incidentally, only 16 men has ever taken 9 or more wickets in an innings of a Test match.