Sri Lanka's untiring workhorse
By dismissing Yuvraj Singh in the fourth ODI against India in Colombo, Chaminda Vaas became the fourth bowler to take 400 ODI scalps, the second Sri Lankan after Muttiah Muralitharan. The exclusive club consists of only bowlers from the subcontinent: Pakistan's Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis being the other two. Following are a few highlights of Vaas' ODI career:
- Vaas' 8 for 19 against Zimbabwe at the SSC in Colombo in December 2001 remains the best bowling figures in an ODI. His best in a Test innings is seven wickets, which he took twice in a Test against West Indies. That match was also in 2001, and at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.
- Vaas is one of only four players to complete the double of 2000 runs and 300 wickets in ODIs. The others are Wasim Akram, Sanath Jayasuriya and Shaun Pollock.
- He is one of three bowlers to have taken two hat-tricks in ODIs, Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq being the other two. Vaas' first came in the ODI where he took 8 for 19; the second came against Bangladesh in Pietermaritzburg during the World Cup in 2003. His hat-trick came off the first three balls of the match - a feat matched by no other - and he went on to take 6 for 25, his second-best figures in ODIs.
- Vaas has been consistent both home and away: he has taken 81 wickets at home at an average of 27.51, 151 away at 28.04 and 168 on neutral venues at 27.08. Click here to view his career summary.
- In 320 innings he's bowled in, Vaas has always opened the bowling for Sri Lanka. Vaas is way ahead of the pack; Manoj Prabhakar, with 127 innings, is next in the list of bowlers who have always opened the bowling through their ODI career. In Tests too, Vaas has always taken the new ball whenever he's bowled.
- Vaas' 23 wickets in the 2003 World Cup is the second-best haul in a single edition of the tournament; Glenn McGrath bettered it in 2007.
- Muralitharan and Vaas have been the mainstays of Sri Lanka's line-up in the last 15 years. In the 252 matches they have played together, they had taken over 700 wickets, at averages slightly better than their career numbers. Murali has taken 388 wickets at 22.85, while Vaas has 320 at 26.36. The averages improve significantly in matches won by Sri Lanka.
- Vaas has fared much better in day games in comparison to day-night affairs. In day games, his 215 wickets have come at 24.98 apiece, while he averages 30.49 for his 185 scalps in day-night matches. Vaas also makes effective use of favourable conditions early on in day games: he has taken 133 first-innings wickets at an average of 22.10, which increases to 29.65 for his 82 wickets in the second.
- Of his 400 wickets, 241 comprise Nos 1-3 in the opposition line-up, just a measure of Vaas' value to the Sri Lankan attack. Vaas' cunning use of movement and slower deliveries have often deceived batsmen into offering catches: 239 of his victims have been caught, with 90 lbw and only 60 bowled - he has worked out his wickets, rather than beaten batsmen with sheer pace. Vaas even has a stumping to his name, with the keeper often standing up to the stumps against him in recent years.
- Vaas has dismissed Stephen Fleming 11 times in 29 matches, Saeed Anwar 11 times in 38, Adam Gilchrist 10 in 27, Herschelle Gibbs 9 in 24, Sourav Ganguly 9 in 33 and Sachin Tendulkar 9 in 49.
- Yuvraj was the 76th batsman to be dismissed for a duck by Vaas; only Wasim Akram has done it on more occasions. Vaas, though, has a long way to catch up, Akram had scalped 110 batsmen for 0. Vaas has dismissed Fleming and Gibbs for a duck four times.
- Eight of those 76 batsmen have been dismissed on the first ball of the innings, a record for any bowler. The next-best are Pollock and Akram, who have taken a wicket with the first ball of an innings on four occasions.
- Vaas' efforts have often been overshadowed thanks to the presence of Murali, but a look behind reveals his true worth: Sri Lanka's next-best fast bowler is Dilhara Fernando with 157 wickets.
Inputs provided by HR Gopalakrishna, a Bangalore-based statistician
Mathew Varghese is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo