Sri Lankan cricket has produced top-quality fast bowlers in their history. Some of the names who started their journey from scratch made a name for themselves by letting their performances do the talking in big games. Despite going through hurdles, they defied the odds and ensured to dictate the terms by putting up consistent displays when it really mattered the most.
As a result, they were able to survive in the competitive era. The fast bowlers who represented the Sri Lankan cricket team literally knew when to keep the batters in check and when to bowl wicket-taking deliveries in clutch moments. Sri Lankan cricket has witnessed top-quality pacers who operated at the top gear. Now, in this article, we will take a look at the top 5 Sri Lankan fast bowlers of all time.
1. Chaminda Vaas
Chaminda Vaas was undoubtedly the best fast bowler in the history of Sri Lankan cricket. Moreover, he was easily the successful new ball bowler who was capable of producing early breakthroughs, courtesy of his ability to swing and seam the ball with dexterity.
Moreover, he was one of those experts who perfected the art of bowling late indippers to deceive the right-handed batsmen. For the record, an indipper is a kind of delivery that literally curves into a right-handed batsman before the ball pitches.
Besides that, he had other weapons such as the off-cutters and reserve swing under his sleeve as well. He took as many as 355 wickets in 111 Tests including 12 fifers. On the other hand, he took 400 wickets in 322 ODIs including 4 fifers whereas he took 6 wickets in six T20Is.
2. Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga was one of the best fast bowlers in the world during his era. Nicknamed “Slinga Malinga” owing to his distinctive round-arm action, he ruffled the opposition batters with immaculate inswinging yorkers in the best way possible.
Batters found it really tough to read his deliveries and even though they could, Malinga figured out a way to make a comeback. He was someone who had a barrage of tricks on his sleeve. He unsettled the batters with deceptive slower deliveries and unexpected bouncers.
Lasith Malinga was really good at bowling the death overs. He was known to keep the batters in check with his subtle bowling variations. Overall, he took 101 wickets in Tests with 3 fifers, 338 wickets in ODIs with 8 fifers and 107 wickets in T20Is including 2 fifers
3. Nuwan Kulasekara
Nuwan Kulasekara was the third-best fast bowler in the history of Sri Lankan cricket. It is worth mentioning here that he is considered one of the best swing bowlers in world cricket, during the playing days of his cricketing career.
Kulasekara who operated as a right-arm fast bowler generated an energetic pace and has also showcased his prowess to move the ball off the seam. Besides that, he can also reverse-swing the ball. On top of that, he also proved that he could maintain a tight line and length.
The Nittambuwa-born represented the Sri Lankan national cricket team across all three formats of the game. He played 21 Tests, 184 ODIs and 58 T20Is for the team wherein he took 48 wickets in Tests, 199 wickets in ODIs including one fifer and 66 wickets in T20Is.
4. Dilhara Fernando
When Dilhara Fernando announced his arrival in the international circuit, he troubled the batters with his natural pace. He was also touted to be the ideal replacement for Chaminda Vaas but he couldn’t justify himself as the long-term replacement.
However, he still had a pretty decent career where he played across all three formats of the game. What really makes his bowling worthwhile is his ability to hit the deck hard and move the ball off the seam.
Overall, he took 100 wickets in 40 Tests including three five-wicket-hauls. On the other hand, he took 187 wickets in 147 ODIs including one fifer whereas he has played 18 T20Is and took 18 wickets and finished his international career with 305 wickets.
5. Suranga Lakmal
Suranga Lakmal was one of the top fast bowlers in the history of Sri Lankan cricket. He was one of those lanky pacers who was able to extract bounce and swing quite consistently to stamp his authority in the purest format of the game.
He has had a promising career in Sri Lankan cricket and is also the second-leading wicket-taker behind Chaminda Vaas in Test cricket. The former right-arm fast bowler represented the national cricket team in 70 Tests, 86 ODIs and 11 T20Is.
Overall, he was quite successful in red-ball cricket, taking as many as 171 wickets including 4 five-wicket hauls. On the other side of the coin, he took 109 wickets in the 50-over format whereas he took 8 wickets in T20Is. He finished his career with 288 international wickets.
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