Island Cricket

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gayle and his struggle against Vaas

For a batsman of his ability, the manner in which Gayle has been dominated by Vaas is amazing - seven dismissals for ten runs in all. Writes S Rajesh for Cricinfo.

"It's no secret. Yes, he has got me out the majority of times in Test cricket whenever I play against Sri Lanka." This was Chris Gayle's honest admission after West Indies lost the first Test against Sri Lanka in Guyana. The bowler he was referring to was Chaminda Vaas, who won the Man-of-the-Match award in the game and was probably the reason why Gayle dropped down to No. 6 in the batting order in the second innings.

For a batsman of his ability, the manner in which Gayle has been dominated by Vaas is amazing. It isn't only the fact that he has fallen to Vaas seven times in six Tests; all seven dismissals have come about early in his innings, in Vaas' first spell. In those seven innings, Gayle has scored a grand total of ten runs, and the last five dismissals have all been for ducks, over three different series.

Thanks largely to Vaas, Gayle averages a paltry 16.30 against Sri Lanka, and his unbeaten 51 in the second innings in Guyana was his first 50-plus score against them in 11 innings. His early departures have also meant he has hardly faced Muttiah Muralitharan in Tests: in all he has played 92 deliveries from Murali, 76 of which were during the course of his defiant innings at the Providence Stadium.

Though Gayle has been all at sea against Vaas, he hasn't necessarily struggled against all left-arm seam-and-swing bowlers - his overall average against them since July 2001 is a fairly reasonable 29.37, though it's still a fair way lower than his career average.

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