Rangana Herath hoping for a repeat of 2014 heroics
England, who lost the 2014 Test series against Sri Lanka 1-0, have undergone a resurgence in the last 12 months with a new and aggressive approach to the game.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka are undergoing a period of transition following the retirements of batting greats Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
Stating that the 2014 series win was an unforgettable achievement for Sri Lanka, Herath is confident that if the team manages to build the key partnerships in the Tests, they can repeat the performance from nearly two years ago.
"We had an unforgettable match in 2014 when we won the match and the series against England," said Herath in an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net.
"It was a big achievement for me as an individual and also for us as a team, it was truly unforgettable.
"Hopefully this time around we can produce a similar performance and do the right things at the right time.
"Partnerships will be important, both in terms of bowling and batting, and if we get that right I’m confident we can repeat the 2014 result."
Despite the retirements of Jayawardene and Sangakkara, Herath has expressed confidence in the Sri Lankan batting line-up for the current series against England.
"As everyone knows, we are now playing without two of our legends, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, but we have some young talented players coming through who have the requisite skills.
"I’m sure their application in Test cricket will also be good so I am very confident in our batting line-up."
Herath is just three scalps away from reaching the 300-wicket mark in Test matches and the 38-year-old stalwart knows what kind of role he will be playing in the upcoming series.
"As a spinner, I know there won’t be much turn in the pitches here but I won’t really make any technical changes to my bowling, it’s more about what I will do with the mental aspect of the game.
"I will try to assess the situation and identify the batsmen’s weaknesses as early as possible so I have an idea of what line and length I should be bowling."
After Sri Lanka depart, England will face another challenge from the subcontinent in Pakistan, who are visiting for the first time since the infamous 2010 Test series.
In the recent past, Pakistan, despite their indifferent form in the limited overs formats, have been quite successful in the Test arena.
One of their key architects of the success in the Test match level is leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who has taken 76 wickets from just 12 Test matches.
Shah is currently injured but is expected to recover in time for the tour of the United Kingdom and Herath is full of praise for the 30-year-old.
Stating that Shah has all the attributes needed to become a successful bowler, Herath advised his fellow spinner to bowl with patience in England.
"Yasir Shah is a very good find for Pakistan," Herath said.
"He has a lot of variation, gets turn and bounce, and also doesn’t bowl many loose balls.
"As a bowler, Yasir Shah has got everything.
"He has only played 12 Tests and has already taken over seventy wickets, so that gives us an idea of how good he is.
"In England, he will need to bowl patiently and will get help from the pitch later in the game.
"I’m sure he will take a lot of wickets here."
The last time England beat Sri Lanka at home in a Test match was in May 2011, where they secured an innings-and-14-run victory which set up a 1-0 series victory.
© Cricket World 2016