Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 4th day July 7, 2009

Herath makes most of his chance

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Sri Lanka's match-winning left-arm spinner Rangana Herath said that the one over he bowled at the end of the third day confirmed that his side would have an outside chance of winning.

"Yesterday I bowled one over and I managed to get turn and bounce. That one over made the difference to open the bowling with me today," said Herath who spun Sri Lanka to an astonishing 50-run win taking a career-best 4 for 15 off 11.3 overs.

Herath was a late replacement in the team for key spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who was forced to pull out due to a knee injury. Herath was playing premier league cricket in the Staffordshire League in England when he received a late call to join the team and barely 24 hours after arriving in Galle he was drafted into the XI.

What a spell he produced on the fourth day, capturing the wickets of overnight batsmen Mohammad Yousuf and Salman Butt in his first over of the day and later returning to wipe off the tail.

"Although I was playing in the UK I had informed the national selectors that I was available for selection," Herath said after picking up his first Man-of-the-Match award. "I had my mind set to play in the Test no sooner I was asked to return to Colombo. I came to the Test with a positive frame of mind.

"Each time I go to play league cricket I inform the selection committee that I am always available for the national team," 31-year-old Herath said. "I didn't think that I would be called up to play in this series. But I am happy that I got the chance to play in the Test and prove myself.

"Normally Asian batsmen are very good playing spin. I have done well against Pakistan previously and this time I thought I can do the same."

Herath has always lived in the shadows of the great Muralitharan, but whenever he has been given the opportunity he has grabbed it. Tuesday was one of them, when he bowled his team to a great victory. Unfortunately for Herath he couldn't get his first five-for in an innings. He ended up with four wickets for the fifth time in his career. "I thought I could get five wickets in this Test but I wasn't able to. I hope to do so in the future."