Tharanga's Sad Waiting for the 2nd ton is the longest gap (3888 days) between Test centuries by a player – since World War 2- thanks to the Seven-years long layoff enforced on him since his 1st ton made as a rookie at the age of 21 years in 2006. He was totally eliminated from Test cricket, without giving a solitary chance to play a Test, since 2007 until recalled in 2014 June.
SL Selectors were responsible for creating this unique world record.! They entirely overlooked this talented front order batter Upul Tharanga, since his debut years in 2006/7 for straight seven years, despite producing 13 ODI Hundreds and equaling the World Record for highest number of 200+ (7 x 200+ stands) at the age of 28 years (record sharing with Ricky Ponting to date)! This happened despite showing those proven abilities for temperament & endurance to play long innings, even in the shorter version of the game..
15 Tests of Tharanga's 21-test career were limited to his debut years 2006/7. He scored his first Ton as a rookie (@ 21 years) 10 years ago. Since 2007 he suffered a SEVEN Years long layoff due to SL selector's ignorance! Even after recalled in 2014 July, he was restricted to just 7 occasional Tests to date (during the past 3 yrs). Strangely, this happened despite having scored highly impressive 514 runs @ 43 Av with this unbeaten Ton Vs Zm & another 2 near tons missed by just a few runs (83 Vs SA & 92 Vs Pk).
In other words, SL Selectors Created a world record by not considering Tharanga for a single Test for 7 years! Since 2014, his chances were limited to just 1 or 2 random tests per year (2015, 2016) despite scoring 514 runs @ 43 Av with his latest unbeaten ton (& 83 Vs SA, 92,45,46, 48 vs Pk). If you consider the failing top order performances, his progress is Thousand times better productive performance than most in current top order (filled mostly with torch-bearing favorites who repeatedly failed). The people responsible for this disparity sank SL cricket to an abyss, never seen before.
Most likely, Tharanga will be overlooked again, while keeping all the favorite doom boys. They did that to Tharanga, just after his series winning performance with 92,45 in the decider Test vs Pk in 2014 Aug, They rudely eliminated him from the squad selected to next series played in NZ. In 2014 Aug, Upul was handed over another year long lay off as a reward for producing side's best batting contribution in a vital test, that won a tough series for SL. Upul's match defining innings came just in his 4th Test appearance after 7 years & in the solitary chance he got to play in 4 consecutive matches to date in any format (since axed from ODIs, 3 weeks after topping 5k odi runs as 2nd quickest in SL winning the 12th MoM & creating the World record for highest double-hundred stands). He was axed again after making 46 & 48 in the solitary Test given Vs Pk in June 2015. Then, he was overlooked for this year's Australian series, despite making side's best unbeaten 50*+ & 40 with side's highest 120+ SR in Eng, from 4 odi innings played Vs Eng in June 2016. He achieved it batting in the tail at No7, facing the most difficult phase of each odi with maximum fielders outside the ring in last 10 overs.
SLC talking about introducing a performance-merit based contract system for players. What they should do is, extend that to the most important team selection process as well. Without such a solid basis strictly implemented in the selection mechanism / process, this disparity will never stop.
Each Individual payers' most recent (up to 10) matches played during the past couple of years would give an overall picture of recent productivity and stats based analytical formula could be easily introduced to access it. If a player had done relatively well in a series, he should be an automatic choice for the next series & selectors should be prohibited from axing any such productive player after each good performance….. unfairly limiting his chances to solitary matches months to year apart. Unfortunately, this practice currently happening in SL cricket, quite often & it entirely hinders the progress of some productive players. Needles to say, this despicable practice is highly counterproductive destruction to overall progress of SL cricket.
Tharanga is a last moment addition to the current squad as a "spare wheel", thanks to a rare kindness shown by his fate.
It is really funny to note, a player who was injudiciously considered not good enough for a spot in any 17-men Test squad, originally selected for each individual series SL played since this player's series defining batting contributions in that decider (92, 45 Vs Pakistan) played in Aug, 2014, now making the biggest batting contribution to top 500 runs in the 1st Test inning that he was allowed to play in a full series, since 2014.! Upul endured at the wicket for over 4 sessions (320 minutes), facing 208 deliveries & putting up 6 valuable stands for SL, with youngsters (6 stands worth between 25 to 99 runs), until ran out of partners in his unbeaten 110* (studded with 10x 4s). The extent of nonrecognition / ignorance shown towards certain players & massive disparity in current selection process is clearly evident.