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Sa'adi Thawfeeq at Galle
December 20, 2007
Chaminda Vaas, the Sri Lanka fast bowler, spoke of his pride in answering the critics who questioned his value after he struck a workmanlike 90 and took four wickets on the third day against England at Galle.
"I wanted to prove something. People started asking questions about my ability. I answered them by performing well throughout the series," Vaas said. "I am here because I have performed in every game taking 330 wickets purely on performance. My plan is to play one more year of Test cricket and to continue in the one-day game for two years."
Vaas, 33, was under pressure before this series when the selectors told him that he hadn't performed to his optimum ability, and that they would consider dropping him in the future. However, he has taken 11 cheap wickets at 25.81 apiece - and his innings of 90 today led Sri Lanka to a towering 499 for 9. His only regret was not reaching three figures.
"Getting 90 is better than nothing," he said. "I am very happy [with] the way I batted. I learnt a lot from playing county cricket [for Hampshire, Worcestershire and Middlesex]. Batting is more important to the team. When the team needs runs, as a tailender you have to put your head down and get runs. That's why we were able to get nearly 500 runs today. Getting a hundred for a fast bowler is something to cherish. Considering the situation we were in it was better to get 90. I got good support from Mahela [Jayawardene].
"The ball always swings in Sri Lanka and I am very pleased with my performance, [with] the way I bowled today. We went with a plan to bowl in good areas. We showed that there is something on the wicket and we ended up bowling England for under 100. All of us bowled pretty well. If you do bowl in the good areas you can take a lot of wickets. England bowled here and there and negatively. That's the difference."
England, who capitulated for a paltry 81, were at the mercy of Vaas who took 4 for 28, but there was another left-armer to support him. Chanaka Welegedara, making his debut aged 26, bowled a lively and accurate eight-over spell, picking up 2 for 17, and Vaas thinks Sri Lanka have found someone very special.
"He has a long future ahead of him if he looks after his injuries," he said. "He will turn out to be one of the best bowlers in the world. He bowled pretty well today and he is still learning. I am sure he will come out very well."