Stylish Sri Lankan batsman Upul Tharanga scored his second Test century after a gap of 10 long years on Sunday against Zimbabwe at the Harare sports club. Upul Tharanga scored his maiden Test hundred against Bangladesh way back in 2006 – a Test match Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets. Unfortunately after getting his maiden Test century Upul Tharanga could not reach the three-figure mark even once until Sunday.
So, what has been the reason for Tharanga’s struggle in Test cricket? Well, if you look at his Test career, it never took off as he would have liked it to. After that century against Bangladesh in 2006, Tharanga failed to deliver the goods in the longest format of the sport. He did get those starts but couldn’t really convert them into centuries. After scoring 165 against Bangladesh which was a relatively inexperienced team in the longest format, Tharanga went through a lean patch.
In 2006, the left-handed got many chances to prove himself but he failed against oppositions like Pakistan, England, South Africa and New Zealand. Upul hardly got into the double figures and due to these series of failures he was dropped from the Test side eventually. His record overseas was the main reason for him being dropped from the Test team.
In 2014, he made a comeback to the Test team and was looking better than before and once again got the starts but somehow couldn’t really capitalize on them. In four successive innings against Pakistan, Upul scored 92, 45, 46 and 48 – in Test cricket, but that was not enough. If you want to get recognized as a good Test batsman you need to hit those big centuries and make your wicket count.
The present Sri Lankan team which is touring Zimbabwe has a couple of big names missing so Upul Tharanga had the best chance to prove his worth. And after playing the knock against the African minnows on Sunday, Tharanga would be mighty pleased. This century which has come after a decade should be a boost for his confidence. Although it has come against a relatively weak opposition – a Test hundred is something special. However, it’ll be interesting to see if Sri Lanka give him a chance once Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews are back in that middle order.