Chaminda Vaas, the Sri Lankan left-arm fast medium bowler was born on this day in the year 1974.
During the late ’90s and early 2000s, most of the focus on Sri Lankan cricket used to be grabbed by Murali and Jayasurya. However, before Murali would start his magic with the old ball, Vaas was given the responsibility to take care of the shiny, new ball.
Vaas ended with more than 750 international wickets and generally considered to be more effective in ODIs compared to tests. His ODI bowling average of 27.53 is slightly better than the test bowling average of 29.58. Another interesting stat to support his ODI credentials would be the fact that he is statistically the most successful bowler against the great Sachin Tendulkar as he got the wicket of the little man nine times in 49 ODI. This is the most number of times any bowler has dismissed Tendulkar in ODIs.
Vaas was specifically lethal against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and non-test playing countries. His bowling average against Zimbabwe reads 18.33 and against Bangladesh, it is 13.73. He has some of the memorable spells against them also.
In 2001, in the 1st Match of the ‘LG Abans Triangular Series’ at Colombo Vaas ran through the Zimbabwe innings with a great display of swing bowling. He got Dion Ebrahim leg before wicket in the first ball of the match. By 5th over Zimbabwe were three down and they never recovered. Vaas kept getting one wicket after another. Four of his victims were leg before wicket, two were caught behind by the keeper and one was bowled. He got his eighth wicket in the 15th over of the match which was his 8th over. With two more overs to bowl, there was a possibility that Vaas may get all 10. But Sri Lankan captain Jayasurya changed Nuwan Zoysa to bring Muralitharan who duly took two wickets in four bowls to complete the Zimbabwe innings with a sorry total of just 38 runs. That time this held the unwanted record of the lowest team total in ODIs. Vaas finished with 8 for 19, the best ever One-day bowling figures ever.
Since then this record was broken twice, first by Canada scoring 36 during the 2003 World Cup and later by Zimbabwe in 2004 when the scored only 35. Interestingly in both cases, the opponents were Sri Lanka. In both cases, Vaas started the slide for the opponents. In Canada match his analysis was 7-4-15-3 whereas in the Zimbabwe match he finished with 9-4-11-4.
Vaas’ early act in the 2003 World cup match against Bangladesh made Alok Kapali answer to a specific cricket quiz question. He was the only batsman ever in an ODI to bat in number six position and face delivery in the first over of the match. Vaas started with a hat trick on first three balls in the match as he dismissed Hannan Sarkar, Mohammad Ashraful, and Ehsanul Haque. After a boundary in the 4th ball, Vaas got Sanwar Hossain leg before in the 5th ball of the match to bring Kapali in the middle, maybe around 25 overs early than he expected. Kapali, Captain Khaled Mashud, and a young Mashrafe Mortaza showed some fight to take the score to 124. However, Sri Lanka chased down the target in 22 overs without losing a wicket.