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Would love to get 400 wickets but can't guarantee form - Herath

Rangana Herath had Shakib Al Hasan caught for 8 AFP

Rangana Herath conceded 400 career wickets would be "nice to have", while reiterating that at 39, he considers his future in the game after every series. Having taken 6 for 59 in Sri Lanka's victory in Galle, Herath is now the most successful left-arm spinner in Tests, surpassing Daniel Vettori's career tally of 362. This was also his 29th five-wicket haul - only Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Richard Hadlee and Anil Kumble have achieved more.

"If you can get to a target like that it would be terrific, because very few people have taken 400 Test wickets," Herath said. "I'd love to get there, but I can't guarantee that I'll be in this form forever. But I'll keep playing and contributing as I can for the team and for the country, and hope that the wickets keep coming."

That Herath is now among the most successful bowlers in the game is all the more extraordinary, given he did not have a long run in the team until he was 31. Before 2009, when he became a fixture in Sri Lanka's Test XI, Herath had played only 14 Tests at sporadic intervals.

"I have no regrets about starting late," he said. "I have already played 79 Tests and I am happy with what ever I have achieved so far."

Herath needs 34 more Test wickets to get 400, and if matches are played per-schedule, Sri Lanka play six further home Tests this year before they are due to go overseas for a bilateral tour. In those matches, Herath may find himself sharing the spin duties with two other slow bowlers, however - Sri Lanka now having fielded three specialist spinners in each of their last four Tests on the island. Unusually, in this match, they also played two seamers, bringing the number of frontline bowlers to five. As acting captain, Herath said having so many bowlers at his command provided him with a wealth of possible strategies.

"We talked a lot about playing six batsmen and five bowlers, and ultimately it was the selectors who made that decision," Herath said. "I look at it the positive way. I have loads of options when you have three spinners. When we bowl long spells bowlers will get tired, so in that situation having five bowlers is a clear advantage.

"As you saw today, playing against three spinners with such a large score to get is difficult for the opposition. The pitch wasn't turning as much as usual, but we had the bowlers who did well - Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan gave a lot of support."

Though Sri Lanka were rarely pushed in this match, they did drop three catches in the first innings. Catches had been liberally spilled in recent tours of South Africa and Australia as well. 

"After a game we look at the weak points in all three departments, and we have to be more cautious when it comes to fielding, as we missed a few chances," Herath said. "But we are learning. We will work hard and come good."