The signs in front of Galle Stadium, where Rangana Herath is declared a "silent murderer," appear unfair. After all, Sri Lanka's left arm spinner felt less and less like carbon monoxide as a breath of fresh air.
The 40-year-old Herath plays his 93rd and final test with his grayened temples and the cramming of a real estate agent, ending one of the most reckless careers in the history of the game. England has one last chance this week not to underestimate him.
Herath starts the first test and needs a wicket to complete 100 in Galle. Only his outspoken compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan (in three places) and Jimmy Anderson (Lords) have achieved this landmark on a single test site.
Rangana Herath (pictured) is confident that he will not be the last of the Sri Lankan greats
Herath (pictured) will defend herself from international cricket after the first test against England
And when he turns five, Herath could move from the tenth list of Test Wicket Taker to seventh – an intoxicating position for a player who has overshadowed his career by Sri Lankan legends like Murali, Kumar Sangakkara, and Mahela Jayawardene
Because of his creaking knee, he now only bows one game in this series with three games. Test Cricket's final connection to the twentieth century – Herath debuted in September 1999, also in Galle, with Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting – and will go along.
Looking back on a career that produced 430 test wickets at 27 – most of all left arm spinning – plus 92 in White Ball formats, the list of those he wanted to thank threatened to overwhelm him.
"Of course it's emotional," he said. "I've played international cricket for 19 years, and before that I played cricket at junior level. So, if you withdraw from the game you love, it's a sad moment.
"It's not an easy decision, but I've decided this is the right time."
Despite her recent struggles, Herath is confident of the future of the Sri Lankan side
The 40-year-old spinner is currently in tenth place on the list of all Test Wicket Takers
Respectfully in public, England is privately thrilled that he will not be there to torture her during the second and third tests in Pallekele and Colombo.
His two tests against her in Sri Lanka led to three six wick tricks, including twelve to six years ago in Galle. If a current Sri Lankan bowler were likely to pinch the Achilles heel against the spin on the subcontinent, then it was Herath.
Nevertheless, Galle is not a bad place to bow: Nine of his 34 Test 5 fors came here, and his gates cost only 24 pieces. Hundred would be the perfect shoot.
"I did not have this milestone in mind until I realized I was close to the hundred," he said. "It will be a remarkable achievement."
When Alastair Cook retired from Test Cricket in September, it was generally observed that we would not see him again. Herath deserves the same compliment.