When Muttiah Muralitharan retired from Test cricket in July 2010, it was assumed that Sri Lanka would never be able to replace him. That assumption was reasonable back then. Muralitharan had retired with an astounding 800 wickets in 133 Tests, at an average of 22.72. At the time, the next-highest wickets tally for a specialist spinner from Sri Lanka was 71, by a bowler named Rangana Herath. (Sanath Jayasuriya had 98, but he wasn’t a specialist spinner.) The left-arm spinner was averaging 37.88 in 22 Tests and was already 32 years old. It was hardly believable that he – or any other bowler – could come close to being as effective as Muralitharan had been for Sri Lanka.