Galle: Having stayed under legendary Muuttiah Muralitharan's shadow for the better part of his career, Rangana Herath feels that being in and out of the side over last decade is like "bread and butter" for him.
As recently as Sri Lanka's last Test match against Pakistan, Herath was dropped from the playing XI but the left-arm spinner has learnt to take it in his stride.
"That was not the first time that I was dropped from the team. I've been dropped from the team so many times. For me, it's like bread and butter," the irony of his statement was not lost on anyone after Herath's 7/48 turned the match decisively for Sri Lanka.
"Every batsman and bowler has rough patches in each of their career. I have done lot of good things in the recent past. So what I have thought is that that I've done something and I can do the same. So I trusted on that and went on," he said.
Asked about being Murali's shadows for long time, Herath said,"I've played alongside Murali in 2009 and he retired in 2010. I didn't try to emulate what he did on the cricketing field. He is a legend and I don't think that I can even get closer to what he did. But on my part, I've tried everything that I could do," he added.
Herath said Ajinkya Rahane's dismissal was when they were convinced that they are winning the match.
"I thought he was the man to change the match at that situation. So I thought we can surely win when we got Rahane out," Herath said after the match.
After a listless spell in the first innings, the left-arm spinner made a splendid comeback in the second innings.
"I did bowl well in the first innings but unfortunately I couldn't get wickets in the first innings. But we did realize something on how to bowl in this kind of pitches. With the spin bowling coach, we had a chat and put up a plan before the fourth innings," he added.
Off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal picked eight wickets in the match, including five in the first innings, and has formed an able partnership with Herath that could spell more trouble for India in the next two matches.
"He (Tharindu) has played few matches in the recent past and he has showed that he has the variety. So I think he is the man for the future. But still, he is just 22 years old and he needs experience. He needs to improve a lot and he needs consistency.
"However, with these set of coaches, he can go a long way. Especially at this age, he is in a very good position to improve himself," Herath signed off.