Left-arm spinner's career-best 12 wickets help Sri Lanka beat World No 1 England by 75 runs
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath claimed a match haul of 12 wickets as Sri Lanka condemned top-ranked England to their fourth consecutive Test defeat yesterday in the series opener. The 34-year-old grabbed six wickets in each innings as the tourists, attempting what would have been their highest successful fourth-innings chase of 340, were bowled out for 264 soon after tea on the fourth day.
Got him: Rangana Herath celebrates the wicket of Graeme Swann at the Galle International Stadium yesterday. Pic/AFP
Off-spinner Suraj Randiv lent admirable support with six wickets in the match as Sri Lanka went 1-0 ahead in the two-match series with an impressive 75-run win. "Any Test win is important, but to do it against the best side in the world is a moment to cherish," said Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene. "It's been a tough period for us to get things right but the boys worked really hard to improve as a team and today we showed a lot of character.
Class act "The bowlers were much more relaxed defending 340. We all had to be patient and knew the wickets would come. Herath has been around a long time and is a class act. "Suraj too is settling into his groove now and can be a very good bowler for us.
"But we can't afford to be complacent. There is one more Test to go and we know England are a quality side and will come back hard," he added. Trott kept the tourists afloat with a defiant 112 before the last five wickets fell for just 12 runs in front of 8,000 bitterly disappointed English fans in the southern coastal town.
It was only the second win in 18 Tests for Sri Lanka since the retirement of world bowling record holder Muttiah Muralitharan in 2010. They lost six while the rest were drawn.
England's highest successful fourth-innings chase had come way back in 1928 when they made 332-7 to defeat Australia in Melbourne.
Century in vain Trott's seventh Test century included 10 boundaries in a patient 266-ball knock. But the match turned decisively Sri Lanka's way when he was seventh out just before tea, flicking a Randiv delivery to backward short-leg where Tillakaratne Dilshan snapped up a diving catch.
Wicket-keeper Matt Prior had earlier helped Trott add 81 for the fifth wicket before he was dismissed by Herath for 41 as Lahiru Thirimanne clung on to a full-blooded sweep at forward short-leg. Tailenders Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar fell in the space of five runs to hand Sri Lanka victory with a day to spare.
England, who will slip to number two in the rankings behind South Africa if they lose the series, lost Kevin Pietersen in the day's third over after just seven runs had been added to the overnight score of 111-2. The last left-arm spinner to take ten wickets in a Test against England was Salim Durani in 1962.