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Five to pick from, among them the country's most successful quick, one who broke teeth and one who took four in four
March 18, 2010
Sri Lanka's cricket history is replete with fast bowlers, both in the pre-Test era and after, but they have never produced anyone of genuine pace, although many believe DS Jayasundera, a right-arm fast bowler in the 1930s and 40s, was genuinely sharp, and there have been none faster since.
In the post-war years Sri Lanka was blessed with fast-medium bowlers like Tita Nathanielsz; Tikiri Banda Kehelgamuwa, who claims to have bowled Geoff Boycott with a brute of a delivery that the batsman hardly spotted; Darrell Lieversz and Norton Fredrick, who played in Sri Lanka's first unofficial "Test" victory over India, in Ahmedabad in 1965; Tony Opatha, who played in the first two World Cups; and Mevan Pieris, who played in the 1975 World Cup and was referred to as the "king of swing" because of his ability to move the ball both ways. These fast bowlers mastered the art of swing and cut down on pace to get their wickets on the flat pitches of Sri Lanka.
Among those unlucky to miss out on selection are Graeme Labrooy, a quality swing bowler, whose career was sporadic due to the political climate in the country at the time; Pramodya Wickramasinghe, a bowler of gentle but accurate pace, who once took all 10 in a first-class match in 1992 and played in 40 Tests; and Nuwan Zoysa, a tall, promising lanky left-arm seam bowler, who is one of the few players in history to take a hat-trick in his first over in a Test, but whose career has been plagued by injury.
We'll be publishing an all-time Sri Lanka XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your fast bowlers click here
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