Scotland Wales Northern Ireland

You are in: You are in: Cricket  
Front Page 
The Ashes 
Rugby Union 
Rugby League 
Other Sports 
Sports Talk 
In Depth 
Photo Galleries 
TV & Radio 
BBC Pundits 
Question of Sport 
Funny Old Game 

Around The Uk

BBC News

BBC Weather

Monday, 3 December, 2001, 17:26 GMT
Vaas moves into top tier
Chaminda Vaas has come on huge strides
BBC Sport Online's Oliver Brett considers the progress made by Chaminda Vaas leading up to his 14 wickets in the Colombo Test.

Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas made his debut in August 1994 in the Kandy Test against Pakistan.

Regular observers of Sri Lankan cricket will know that Sri Lanka have a poor record at Kandy in recent years.

And this was no exception - the tourists won by an innings and 52 runs.

For Vaas, then aged 20, it was a forgettable debut - 22 wicketless overs and scores of nought and four with the bat.

But this left-armer has steadily crept into the league of the world's leading bowlers.

Mike Atherton found life tough against Vaas
Mike Atherton found life tough against Vaas

Sri Lanka have frequently been a side who have set out to bat opponents into submission before relying on Muttiah Muralitharan to spin them to victory on the final day.

But that is hardly a complete strategy - and not one that is likely to make a team capable of winning series on a regular basis away from home.

It's different now, however, because Vaas gives Sri Lanka a real opportunity of doing some damage with the new ball.

In the Colombo Test, for example, he removed both West Indian openers in both innings in the first half hour.

Athers suffers

And a year ago, though Sri Lanka were ultimately edged 2-1 by England, Vaas put the mockers on no less an opening batsman than Michael Atherton.

Atherton found himself quite unable to judge whether to play the ball pitching outside off-stump.

Either, with the angle created by Vaas's arm it would arrow into his pads to dismiss him lbw.

Or on another occasion the ball would offer to swing away and a despairing Atherton bat would nick the ball to keeper or slips.

Vaas has also shone in one-day matches
Vaas has also shone in one-day matches

The apotheosis of Vaas's talents was of course his exceptional display in the Colombo match.

The West Indies are not, of course, in the top echelon of batting sides, but they are not complete mugs.

Vaas, however, made them look exactly that.

And if he can start to take five-wicket hauls at home, goodness knows what he could get up to elsewhere from now on.

Three Tests in England beckon next year, for example.

So while Muralitharan - he and Vaas are streets ahead of any other Sri Lanka bowler - may not find the greenish wickets to his liking, Vaas undoubtedly will.


A strict Roman Catholic, Vaas once disclosed his desire to become a priest, but his bowling success ultimately diverted his attention.

Less than a year after his debut, he took 10 wickets in a match in New Zealand to give his side a huge win there.

And he was a crucial part of the side who beat Australia in the three-match series at home in 1999 - taking three for 15 in Kandy, when the Aussies were bowled out for 140.

Over the years his batting has developed and he is sometimes considered to be a genuine all rounder. But his average is still below 20, although he has three fifties to his name in Tests.

If, somehow, he could get that side of his game to come off more regularly, he would truly be an awesome prospect.

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Cricket stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Cricket stories

^^ Back to top