Tharanga Paranavitana is the man most likely to open the Sri Lankan innings with Tillakaratne Dilshan. A solid player, Paranavitana has had a somewhat modest career so far in the Test side, averaging 32.58 from 32 appearances. He will need to be at his best in conditions that might not necessarily suit him down under.
Like many of his teammates, Paranavitana excelled in the Sri Lankan Premier League. His performances for Sinhalese SC saw the side win the 2007/08 title. 893 runs at an impressive 74.41 saw him take out the Man of the Series award. His three hundreds included a personal best 236. It was this stunning run of form that led to his eventual introduction to Test cricket in 2009.
It was a less than impressive debut for Paranavitana. In fact, it was one he would rather forget. His first innings in Test cricket lasted just one ball, before edging one to the slips. His second knock was a slight improvement, but it was cut short when he was run out for just nine.
The following season saw a vast change in fortunes, with the opener hitting centuries in back to back matches against India. His maiden ton came in Galle, with Paranavitana backing up the 111 with another stylish 100 one week later. The deluge of runs was extra special for Paranavitana, whose form had been brought into question only days before the series. The only regret was that he couldn’t convert either of the centuries into bigger hundreds.
Paranavitana was involved in the recent series against New Zealand, although he won’t be overly satisfied with how he performed. Scores of 40 and 31* were sandwiched between ducks against an attack that won’t pose as many threats as the Australians. Fortunately, he only has to focus on one format of the game, and as history suggests, he tends to perform very well under pressure.