Herath confident of clean sweep

Mahela Jayawardene congratulates Rangana Herath for yet another five-wicket haul Associated Press

Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath is confident about his team pulling off a victory the third and final Test, provided they bat the way they did in the final two sessions of play on the fourth day at the SSC. "The pitch is spinning but not alarmingly," Herath said. "You have to treat each ball on its merits. There is a little extra bounce at the press box end, otherwise there is no danger. It might take slow turn but it is not turning as much as it did at Galle and at Sara Oval."

The 31-year-old said the dismissal of Mahela Jayawardene was a 'big blow' but remained optimistic that the rest of the batting could chase down the massive total of 492. Sri Lanka finished the fourth day at 183 for 3, still requiring 309 on the final day with seven wickets in hand.

Herath, who took only his second five-for in an innings during a ten-year Test career since his debut in 1999, provided the little joy for Sri Lanka and was responsible for getting crucial breakthroughs. He also bagged his 50th Test wicket, dismissing Umar Gul for 46.

"If I had got similar opportunities the way I have in this series I would have obtained more Test wickets for my country," Herath said. "But, only 11 can play in a team and on most occasions there is room for only two spinners. I need to grab whatever opportunities come my way. This series has been the highlight of my career. My conscience says that I have been bowling well in the last 10-15 years.

"Even on occasions when I don't take a wicket I am confident that I have bowled well. It is because of the patience and belief that I have in myself I was able to take five wickets in the second innings although I went wicketless in the first."

Herath's wicket tally for the three-Test series stood at 15, at an average of 26.93. And given the dream run, he hoped for the best in the future. "Whether the selectors want to continue with me once Muralitharan is fit and they want to bring Mendis in is upto the selectors," Herath said. "All what I can say is if I am given the opportunity I am always ready to play for my country."