Sri Lanka in England 2014 April 28, 2014

SL quicks begin training with Duke ball

39

Sri Lanka's hopes of sending up to six cricketers to England for early-season training had been upset by former coach Paul Farbrace's move to the English setup, but their fast bowlers have nonetheless begun training at home with Duke balls, in preparation for the two-Test series in June.

Tests in England pose a unique challenge for foreign sides, most of whom use Kookaburra balls across all formats. Chaminda Vaas did not have memorable Test tours of England in his career, but as the fast-bowling coach, he has drawn up specific plans to consolidate the pace attack's 2014 gains.

"The Duke ball doesn't swing much earlier on," Vaas told The Island. "Some of the guys who could play for us in Tests like Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Dhammika Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep have lot of potential and they will develop during this tour."

Though his Tests returns in England were mediocre, Vaas has had good experience of English conditions in four largely successful county stints for Northamptonshire, Hampshire, Worcestershire and Middlesex. His knowhow may be vital to the fast bowlers' performance on the tour, particularly as only one tour fixture precedes the Tests.

"The wickets will suit seamers in the early season and conditions will be wet. It will be tough for them, but hopefully they will enjoy the conditions and I am looking forward to working with these guys."

Nagging line-and-length complemented by modest movement off the seam has been the hallmark of Sri Lanka's new pace spearheads Eranga and Lakmal - a strategy that brought laudable dividends against Pakistan and Bangladesh this year. Vaas suggested the attack would not veer far from that blueprint in England.

"We have been working on things like accuracy, good line and length. The results are there for everyone to see and we need to keep improving. Suranga and Shaminda both bowl at 135 (kph) plus. They need to bowl in that range constantly and their variation will help them."

Accuracy had been allied with endurance in the UAE, where Eranga and Lakmal both delivered over 130 overs each in three back-to-back Tests against Pakistan. The side's plans made for some attritional cricket, but when Sri Lanka won a Test in Dubai largely on the back of their quicks, there were hints the strategy could lead to a resurgence of fast bowling in the national team.

"I always tell them to be patient. We need to bowl good balls to take wickets. When you keep bowling one line the wickets will come. You need to put the batsmen under pressure. During the Pakistan series in UAE a lot of people didn't give us much of a chance. But our seamers did the simple things right and enjoyed quite a bit of success."

Kumar Sangakkara will also have some Duke-ball preparation, after he confirmed a two-match stint with Durham before Sri Lanka's limited-overs series in England.

Sri Lanka depart for Ireland for two ODIs on May 2, before moving on to England for a full tour consisting of one T20I, five ODIs and two Tests.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SL_Boy on May 1, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    What happen to Thilina Thushara?

  • RMCroos on May 1, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Normally when we ( srilanka loose a series in England / Aus ) used to say they used to Kokabura or Duke now in this scenario we cant blame the ball.. We need fast bowlers like VASS / Rumesh / Ravi to lead the srilankan pace attack i would like to see srilankan fast bowlers getting more wickets in an innings like 57/6, 89/8 ,, or even very less runs ...all the best Srilanka with duke challange .....

  • ksquared on April 30, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    I think Vaas should be commended I don't think there were any sort of preparation for the previous two tours as we are seeing, hope it pays off.

  • NALINWIJ on April 29, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    SL test bowling attack may not be penetrative but their ODI and T20 bowlers are effective in a containing role and Malinga is a GREAT FINISHER. Sanath Jayasuriya has more concern about SL quicks at test level. Any practice or training will help. Getting genuine quick bowling 150k is unlikely but then McGrath only bowled 136k and Eranga can do that so SL can produce useful quicks who could get wickets without being a tearaway like Johnson.

  • kartcric on April 29, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    @Nadisha jayasinghe.See you need to understand that aaron and lakmal have not played a lot of matches.They are being persisted only because they are talented.Infact,i was not impressed with lakmal on sl series in eng in 2011.But the way he bowled,getting seam movement,bounce in the asia cup was outstanding.They need time

  • on April 29, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    @ Dhoni48, Varun Aarons ODI economy rate is 6.64, he is the fastest bowler on the subcontinent at present but at some point in his short ODI career, he has been clobbered.Thats not to say the Sri Lankan bowlers don't have high economy rates, lakmal in ODIs for example and i didn't read Om prakashs comment so I don't know the whole debate here but was just replying to your point.

  • CricketFirst on April 29, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    @Kavum, bodybuilders' physique and fast bowlers' strength and fitness are two things. Obviously they need strong muscles but it doesn't mean building muscles like a bodybuilder. Dilhara neither bowled long spells nor consistently. Physiques of Brett Lee and Dale Steyn proves my point. I remember how Champaka Ramanayake slowed down after building his body.

    Vaas has the right idea and hope they can execute it properly in England. We should play for our strengths since we don't have a Mitchell Johnson.

  • on April 29, 2014, 1:59 GMT

    Kavum, Practicing with a Duke ball is no big secret. Pradeep has improved his physique. So is Lakmal. Otherwise he could not have bowled those long spells in trying weather conditions in UAE. I saw he and Eranga bowling sustained spells accurately there in Third Test at Shariah . Both were impressive. I am bit disappointed that Chanaka Welagedara is now out of reckoning. He had some success in last tour and always seemed to have Andrew Strauss sorted out from the very first ball. Remember, he was one of th architects of that famous Durban test match win in 2011. Looking beyond all of them we have that highly underrated, world's best left arm spinner Rangana Herath in our ranks. If conditions by 4th or 5t day give some help he could bowl us to victory.

  • on April 28, 2014, 23:19 GMT

    @ Om Prakash, Well said bro !

  • rk_ks on April 28, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    @PACERONE: What about your worldclass spinner average. I think it is in single digit figures right. Is your so called worldclass spinner, effective as Warne/Murali/Kumble.

  • SL_Boy on May 1, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    What happen to Thilina Thushara?

  • RMCroos on May 1, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Normally when we ( srilanka loose a series in England / Aus ) used to say they used to Kokabura or Duke now in this scenario we cant blame the ball.. We need fast bowlers like VASS / Rumesh / Ravi to lead the srilankan pace attack i would like to see srilankan fast bowlers getting more wickets in an innings like 57/6, 89/8 ,, or even very less runs ...all the best Srilanka with duke challange .....

  • ksquared on April 30, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    I think Vaas should be commended I don't think there were any sort of preparation for the previous two tours as we are seeing, hope it pays off.

  • NALINWIJ on April 29, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    SL test bowling attack may not be penetrative but their ODI and T20 bowlers are effective in a containing role and Malinga is a GREAT FINISHER. Sanath Jayasuriya has more concern about SL quicks at test level. Any practice or training will help. Getting genuine quick bowling 150k is unlikely but then McGrath only bowled 136k and Eranga can do that so SL can produce useful quicks who could get wickets without being a tearaway like Johnson.

  • kartcric on April 29, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    @Nadisha jayasinghe.See you need to understand that aaron and lakmal have not played a lot of matches.They are being persisted only because they are talented.Infact,i was not impressed with lakmal on sl series in eng in 2011.But the way he bowled,getting seam movement,bounce in the asia cup was outstanding.They need time

  • on April 29, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    @ Dhoni48, Varun Aarons ODI economy rate is 6.64, he is the fastest bowler on the subcontinent at present but at some point in his short ODI career, he has been clobbered.Thats not to say the Sri Lankan bowlers don't have high economy rates, lakmal in ODIs for example and i didn't read Om prakashs comment so I don't know the whole debate here but was just replying to your point.

  • CricketFirst on April 29, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    @Kavum, bodybuilders' physique and fast bowlers' strength and fitness are two things. Obviously they need strong muscles but it doesn't mean building muscles like a bodybuilder. Dilhara neither bowled long spells nor consistently. Physiques of Brett Lee and Dale Steyn proves my point. I remember how Champaka Ramanayake slowed down after building his body.

    Vaas has the right idea and hope they can execute it properly in England. We should play for our strengths since we don't have a Mitchell Johnson.

  • on April 29, 2014, 1:59 GMT

    Kavum, Practicing with a Duke ball is no big secret. Pradeep has improved his physique. So is Lakmal. Otherwise he could not have bowled those long spells in trying weather conditions in UAE. I saw he and Eranga bowling sustained spells accurately there in Third Test at Shariah . Both were impressive. I am bit disappointed that Chanaka Welagedara is now out of reckoning. He had some success in last tour and always seemed to have Andrew Strauss sorted out from the very first ball. Remember, he was one of th architects of that famous Durban test match win in 2011. Looking beyond all of them we have that highly underrated, world's best left arm spinner Rangana Herath in our ranks. If conditions by 4th or 5t day give some help he could bowl us to victory.

  • on April 28, 2014, 23:19 GMT

    @ Om Prakash, Well said bro !

  • rk_ks on April 28, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    @PACERONE: What about your worldclass spinner average. I think it is in single digit figures right. Is your so called worldclass spinner, effective as Warne/Murali/Kumble.

  • rk_ks on April 28, 2014, 19:45 GMT

    If the bowler is skillfull he should be effective with any type of ball. Tomorrow if someone uses another ball X, what you will do.

  • BigINDFan on April 28, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    MSD will be quoted as saying " But of course we know the fielding restrictions are not suited for our fast bowling so we have decided to play soccer instead of practicing with the Duke ball". Can someone remind MSD we are talking about tests? His comeback will be have you seen us play test cricket!

    SL will fare much better than Ind and at least they are trying to come up with a plan. Maybe they should hire KP as their temporary coach for the Eng tour and ask him to do PR for them.

    Seriously - SL fast bowlers will not be effective against Eng so their best bet is to get Matthews and Perera to support someone like Prasad or Eranga and attack with quality spin bowling.

  • yorkslanka on April 28, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    @ DCDC - in order to do that we need a bowler who can genuinely average 150kph and at present we don't..we must play to other strengths i.e spin, good fielding and our fast bowlers bowling good lengths and using the swing that will be available...

  • kartcric on April 28, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    @Om Prakash.Dont comment if you are going to be wrong.Is ishwar,aaron and zak getting clobbered.No

  • Kavum on April 28, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    What secrets are being given away? Practicing with a certain ball is hardly a highly classified matter. The only bowler that has shown improvement is Lakmal. The others are in Pramodaya mode. Bowling the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The definition of lunacy. Also Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep have less than ideal physiques. At least Eranga and Prasad have some meat on their bones. Without strong legs, arms and shoulders bowling over 130 kmph is a big challenge. Dilhara was a good example of a body built for pace. Unfortunately, the weakest muscle he had was between his ears. Vass was a good example of a weedy, stringy physique who could barely touch 135 kmph. Fit but ineffective due to lack of pace and nous. Remember Chanderpaul taking him to the cleaners - in Trinidad was it - in 2008? Hope he has learned something since then. Maybe Thisara can be encouraged to bowl over 140 kmph which he is well capable of.

  • blink182alex on April 28, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    Even though England will have a weaker batting unit than they have for quite a few home summers the Sri Lankan fast bowling attack in test cricket is poor. They will have to hope that the weather is dry and warm and so Herath can bowl from one end and take wickets whilst the seamers can keep things tight and get wickets here and there.

  • Charindra on April 28, 2014, 15:45 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with Vaas divulging this information. These are mind games, similar to Aus saying that they're going to target their opponents with fast, short pitched bowling. Lets see how England plan now.

  • SLMaster on April 28, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    I think this time SL attack (bowling and batting) is better.

  • on April 28, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    NIce Job VAAS...while India has a 5 Test series, BCCI is least bothered about it. They don't care that we lost 4-0 last time. The bowlers are being clobbered in IPL, which will result in a bowling line up short of confidence when they visit England. But Sri Lanka is really serious about this tour. I like their approach, even though they have a short tour. Best of Lankans. Hope you make English team grovel.

  • DCDC on April 28, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    What Aussies did last winter to English team, we must try to replicate to some extent. Sheer aggression in fast bowing, Johnson Style.

  • RMCroos on April 28, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    I like Vass's thinking but this kind of information should not pass before the series start. As a coach we can train our bowlers with DUKE ball but this should not published. is there us no rule saying England should play with DUKE ball ... they can change it if they want.. thinking is good from VASS but a smart coach not give any chance to opposite team..

  • on April 28, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    I cannot understand why are we divulging our battle plans and weapon details to media. Who is advising SLC on PR.

  • on April 28, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    any one talk about plaing cricket in england but you have pla in england know what it is the conditions are very different mostly early summer.happy vass know it.I amhapp for that.we have batmens we have medam pace and spinners ,we will do well.I played 10 years in england.

  • on April 28, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    I like the way the srilankans approach their game with commitment

  • pveerank on April 28, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    Don't be over confident on Asian team where they can't perform on England/New Zealand and Australia. Srilanka loose tests and ODI

  • kartcric on April 28, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    I like the look of this srilankan pace attack,especially lakmal.England might struggle actually.Looking forward to the contest

  • on April 28, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    Interesting.. Its gud to see jayasuriya, ranatunga, vaas being utilized,. Their experience is valuable..

  • VinothSam on April 28, 2014, 12:02 GMT

    Everybody under estimated SL in the begining of the T20 WC but everybody saw what happend in the end. Same result will occur in this England series. So keep calm and pray for lions.

  • on April 28, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    I wonder if our guys can go to Nuwaraeliya or Diyathalawa to train in the cold weather. It might actually be useful

  • FawltyBean on April 28, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    It might make a difference if they train in Nuwara Eliya early in the morning with Dukes. Training with them in Colombo not going to help them much. For what Farbrace has done, he should never get another international gig.

  • nothingnew on April 28, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    This English tour would be really tough for all fast bowlers from Sri lanka . They have lack of experience in test and Playing in England would be more hard than normal asian condition. anyhow hope we can see good cricket from both team .

  • PACERONE on April 28, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    The weather and the toss will make a difference.If Sri Lanka win the toss and make the correct decision England will not have the advantage.England has been lucky recently to win the toss and bowl when the conditions helped and got to bat in good batting conditions.All the talk about Anderson been top bowler his average is over 30 and he bowls well when there is help.Sri Lanka will surprise this over rated England team.Their spinners should take wickets.

  • Ellis on April 28, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    Vass knows better than most that line and length are key aspects of success. One does not have to be a speed demon to succeed in England. McGrath and Alderman are evidence of that. The SL medium pacers can do well if they stick to the basics and game plans. The authorities in England will ask for, and get, green, seaming wickets even if the weather is warm. The hammering in Australia has cut deep and SL will feel the full force of the English attempt at a comeback. Headingly in particular will be a challenge for SL. However, if the SL quicks keep their heads they will do well. They need to be handled well and not made into workhorses.

  • tharuka88 on April 28, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    vaas you are the man for srilanka..hope you will do your best for srilanka like you did before.we miss you in our team vass..all the best..you are the only one who kept a record any one can't break it.hat trick in 1st three balls in a game..well done..

  • on April 28, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    But they are in their home soil.

  • CricketMaan on April 28, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    English seamers have used Duke very well compared to Kokaboora or SG and to have some practise with Duke ahead of a tour is always sensible. The only question is the weather conditions and some training to control the swing in overcast conditions. That is key. I recollect Praveen Kumar swing the ball like a boomerang but was soon found out as he could not bowl at a good pace and couldn't control the outswinger. These aspects are key atleast for an armchair crictic point of view.

  • lancia71 on April 28, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    None of the sri Lankan quicks have got the x factor. Shaminda Eranga looks reasonably good but others Vass has mentioned aren't really good. Don't see how we can get England out twice with the bowling attack we have got. Ofc will do well in odi's. will be lucky to draw a test in England this time.

  • on April 28, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Why don't Chaminda Vaas and Jayasuriya stop talking and do their jobs. Let results show what you are doing. No Need to give all these details to England. Remember even the SL head coach is not in the other side.

  • NP_NY on April 28, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    Nice time for SL to tour England. The England team is at an all time low after the Ashes hammering. They are a pale shadow of the team that beat the India-B team 4-0, a few years ago.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • NP_NY on April 28, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    Nice time for SL to tour England. The England team is at an all time low after the Ashes hammering. They are a pale shadow of the team that beat the India-B team 4-0, a few years ago.

  • on April 28, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Why don't Chaminda Vaas and Jayasuriya stop talking and do their jobs. Let results show what you are doing. No Need to give all these details to England. Remember even the SL head coach is not in the other side.

  • lancia71 on April 28, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    None of the sri Lankan quicks have got the x factor. Shaminda Eranga looks reasonably good but others Vass has mentioned aren't really good. Don't see how we can get England out twice with the bowling attack we have got. Ofc will do well in odi's. will be lucky to draw a test in England this time.

  • CricketMaan on April 28, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    English seamers have used Duke very well compared to Kokaboora or SG and to have some practise with Duke ahead of a tour is always sensible. The only question is the weather conditions and some training to control the swing in overcast conditions. That is key. I recollect Praveen Kumar swing the ball like a boomerang but was soon found out as he could not bowl at a good pace and couldn't control the outswinger. These aspects are key atleast for an armchair crictic point of view.

  • on April 28, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    But they are in their home soil.

  • tharuka88 on April 28, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    vaas you are the man for srilanka..hope you will do your best for srilanka like you did before.we miss you in our team vass..all the best..you are the only one who kept a record any one can't break it.hat trick in 1st three balls in a game..well done..

  • Ellis on April 28, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    Vass knows better than most that line and length are key aspects of success. One does not have to be a speed demon to succeed in England. McGrath and Alderman are evidence of that. The SL medium pacers can do well if they stick to the basics and game plans. The authorities in England will ask for, and get, green, seaming wickets even if the weather is warm. The hammering in Australia has cut deep and SL will feel the full force of the English attempt at a comeback. Headingly in particular will be a challenge for SL. However, if the SL quicks keep their heads they will do well. They need to be handled well and not made into workhorses.

  • PACERONE on April 28, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    The weather and the toss will make a difference.If Sri Lanka win the toss and make the correct decision England will not have the advantage.England has been lucky recently to win the toss and bowl when the conditions helped and got to bat in good batting conditions.All the talk about Anderson been top bowler his average is over 30 and he bowls well when there is help.Sri Lanka will surprise this over rated England team.Their spinners should take wickets.

  • nothingnew on April 28, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    This English tour would be really tough for all fast bowlers from Sri lanka . They have lack of experience in test and Playing in England would be more hard than normal asian condition. anyhow hope we can see good cricket from both team .

  • FawltyBean on April 28, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    It might make a difference if they train in Nuwara Eliya early in the morning with Dukes. Training with them in Colombo not going to help them much. For what Farbrace has done, he should never get another international gig.