Warushavithana Upul Tharanga
February 02, 1985, Balapitiya
Left hand bat
A batsman who has frustrated and thrilled in equal measure. Although his Test career has never really taken off - his two Test centuries have come more than 10 years apart - in ODIs he keeps illustrious company among Sri Lanka's finest. As of 2017, only Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya had scored more than Tharanga's 13 one-day centuries
Tharanga's call-up to the Sri Lanka one-day squad in July 2005 brightened a year marred by the Asian tsunami, which washed away his family home in Ambalangoda, a fishing town on the west coast. From an early age he was tipped for the big time, playing Premier League cricket for Singha CC at the age of 15 and passing seamlessly and successfully through the Sri Lanka Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 development squads. He first really caught the eye during the Under-19 World Cup in 2004 when he cracked 117 against South Africa and then 61 in 42 balls against India in the next game. Then, after a successful tour with the under-19 team to Pakistan, during which he scored half-centuries in each of the two Tests and two one-day matches, the Sri Lankan board sent him to play league cricket in Essex, where he starred for Loughton Cricket Club.
He soon graduated to the A team and after accomplished performances against West Indies A he was selected for the national squad a week later. However, it was on the 2006 tour of England that he really began to develop, especially in the one-day game, with an outstanding century at Lord's in the first match of Sri Lanka's 5-0 whitewash, and another in the final match as he and Jayasuriya flayed an opening stand of 286 in 32 overs.
Back-to-back centuries followed in the Champions Trophy and he was forming a destructive partnership with Jayasuriya. After the Champions Trophy, however, it would be another three years until his next century. He flourished at the 2011 World Cup with score of 133 against Zimbabwe and an unbeaten 102 in the quarter-final against England.
In 2013, during a tri-series in the Caribbean, he struck an unbeaten 174 against India in Jamaica but that would be his last fifty-plus score for 18 innings spread over three years during which time he spent considerable periods outside the team. He briefly returned when called up as an injury replacement at the 2015 World Cup, but his 2016 comeback provided slightly more longevity and he was named captain for the tri-series in Zimbabwe, a position he retained when Angelo Mathews was ruled out of the 2017 series in South Africa.
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