Red-hot Pakistan target another whitewash
Under new skipper Perera, inexperienced Sri Lanka have their work cut out as T20I series gets underway
When Upul Tharanga made his one-day international debut in August 2005 and his Test debut four months later, it appeared as if he was in for the long haul. He had the shots and the temperament to excel in both forms of the game, as he proved in the first phase of his career. But after scoring a career best 165 and 71 not out against Bangladesh, his form in the longer version fell away to the extent that he managed to cross the 50-mark only twice in his next 12 Tests. He also lost his ODI form, which led to him being dropped from both formats in 2007. Following irregular appearances in a bid to consolidate his place, he finally sealed his spot in 2009. Since then, he has been considered a one-day batsman capable of batting through the innings. His best series was in England in 2006, when he and Sanath Jayasuriya subjected England to a merciless pounding to fashion a 5-0 whitewash in the ODIs. The pair was involved in a world record first-wicket stand of 286 in the final match in Leeds. In recent times, Tharanga has forsaken his opener’s position to strengthen a brittle middle-order. Tharanga tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in his asthma medication during the 2011 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand, and was subsequently banned from all cricket for three months.