To all those bigheaded nave humbug critics who never admitted what I said for over 3 years: Open your eyes & see what difference it could do to a truly talented capable man suppressed for over three years, when a fraction of much needed opportunities were given to regain his confidence back (within a few consecutive chances) plus a free hand with some appreciation!
If you are a true SL fan (or a notable UT critic relentlessly bent on attacking him with humbug criticism), take the positives and gracefully admit the truth for a change, to be little optimistic!
1) UT/ND yielded 100 runs under first 10 overs, which is Sri Lanka's second-highest total at that point of an ODI since 2001 (after 16 years)!
2) Also, this was the first 100+ stand in 25 ODIs against a full-member team
3) SL's 327 is the highest total in a chase in SA that resulted in defeat.
4) SL's 327 is the Highest ever ODi score in SA/Eng/NZ/WI/Aus vs Host.
5) UT/ND were able to put up 3 consecutive 1st wkt stands over 45 (45, 60 & 139 ) in Odis seen in 4 years.
6) 2x 300+ scores Vs Test playing nations (SA/WI) managed under UT within 5 odis.The last 300+ under Mathew's 2 yrs ago vs Pk and Upul Tharanga became the 3rd ever SL skipper to pull series success on Debut as skipper in Zmb a month Ago. (FIRST TO WIN A TRIANGULAR SERIES on debut)!
Tharanga's prime career (28 – 32 yrs) was virtually wiped-off without allowing any decent opportunities, just because he had a lean patch common to any batter in early 2013. His replacement Kusal Perera was given 65 consecutive chances in Odis to consistently fail. like no other in history of SL cricket. After enjoying gratis place over 3 years he is still tottering with an miserable average in 20s (26 av) and ended up almost 50% of his innings in single-digit saga farming ducks, lasted under 10 balls.
Kusal Perera 27 innings – 105 runs – 3.88 Av – 51 SR
SL's MOST productive Opening combination Dilly/Tharanga (2009-2013: 71 ings/ 3,159 runs/ 282 Highest/45.12 Average/9 x100+/ 13x 50+) in ODis (World's 9th ranked ever best) was totally disrupted in mid 2013 by virtually removing UT from the scene for 4 yrs, unfortunately missing his services in 2015 WC as well. Pl allow him to play!
Tharanga had scored 14 x 100+ Centuries all around the globe playing as odi opener from 159 inning. Only two other Odi Openers managed to produce more centuries than him, facing under 8,000 devilries playing under 175 innings as No1 or No2. The world ranking as follows:
1) HM Amla (SA) – 24 x 100+ from 7,519 deliveries
2) ME Waugh (AUS) – 15 x 100+ from 7,465 deliveries
3) WU Tharanga (SL)- 14 x 100+ from 6,961 deliveries
Skipper Tharanga's magic show with youngsters Dickka & Mendis in SA:
-> Sri Lanka: 50 runs in 4.5 overs (29 balls),
-> 1st Wicket: 50 runs in 29 balls (N Dickwella 17, WU Tharanga 31, Ex 2)
-> WU Tharanga: 50 off 25 balls (5 x 4, 4 x 6)
-> Sri Lanka: 100 runs in 9.4 overs (58 balls), Extras 6
-> 1st Wicket: 100 runs in 58 balls (N Dickwella 29, WU Tharanga 65, Ex 6)
-> N Dickwella: 50 off 40 balls (8 x 4)
-> Sri Lanka: 150 runs in 19.3 overs (117 balls),
-> WU Tharanga: 100 off 73 balls (9 x 4, 7 x 6)
-> 2nd Wicket: 50 runs in 46 balls (WU Tharanga 27, BKG Mendis 23, Ex 1)
-> Sri Lanka: 200 runs in 25.5 ovs (155 b),
Although SL lost we are proud of you guys. BTW, where are those guys demeaned UT's abilities in every forum like wild bees? The catches he took in this series & the innings he played as opener in current Odi series & Previous 5 odi series in SA-2012 Opener Tharanga dealing with lethal attack of Morkel/Steyn/Philander/Tsotsobe in SA conditions was SL`s most productive (just 2 runs behind Sanga) 176 @ 35 av @87 SR, including 2 x consecutive 50+ & another near fifty (46 with 7×4 -1x 6) @ 118 SR helping SL to win 2 odis from 5. Attacking Upul put up vital 72 runs 1st wkt stand when Dilly fell in 9th ov, chasing a massive 312 target helping SL to win by 2 runs in 49th ov @ Bouncy Wanderers too. He fell short of a few runs to repeat that feat single handedly this time.
1) TM Dilshan – 58 in- 2,101 runs -160* HS- 38.90 Av- 82 SR/ 5×100-10 x50
2) MS Atapattu -30 in-1, 037 runs- 124 HS – 37.03 Av- 72 SR -3 x100-7 x50
3) WU Tharanga -48 in -1,664 runs- 174* HS- 36.17 Av- 75 SR- 5 x100 -8 x50
4) SJayasuriya -120 in- 3,797r-152 HS – 32.17 Av- 91 SR- 11×100- 15×50
5) Kaluwitharana- 45 in- 1,305 r -83 HS – 29.00 Av-83 SR – 14×100- 2×50
6) RS Mahanama – 28 in- 582 runs -80 HS- 21.55 Av-51 SR -5 x100-3 x50
Whether we like it or not this is the absolute reality that some guys will certainly have a hard time to digest. But unfortunately none can help their misery 😉 You can comment/ criticize as much as you like with usual sets of hollow words, sans sense & try to console yourselves. But Tharanga is not responsible for deflated Hype Bubble that your hero floated on for 3 years. Hype never last long & Truth pops up. The Same way true talents/skills cannot be Suppressed or Hyde forever.