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.
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