The Tale of Two Debutants – Raina and Randiv

SSC Colombo, Sri Lanka: Two bright stars of India and Sri Lanka made their debut in test matches after exceptional performances in limited over games. While Raina has almost waited for 5 years and has a fixed place in ODIs and 20-20 Indian team, Randiv was knocking on test team door for quite some time. Both marvelled, but while Raina would be happy, Randiv has a lot of questions to answers in future, thanks to curator.

Suresh Raina has earned his place in the Indian team with continuous display of controlled yet attacking batting in limited overs. He was rewarded with captaincy during the recent One-Day series against Zimbabwe when senior palyers were rested. He must have created a record of the longest wait to made test debut after waiting for almost 5 years.

Randiv on the other hand has made his mark as the third best spinner of SL for some time now in the international arena. After Murali’s retirement he has become obvious choice for 2nd spinner after Mendis.

Makind debut in the 2nd test, both players had a tough challenge. Coming as a replacement for Yuvraj Singh, Raina has to make his mark. Randiv on the other hand has to bridge the gap of Murali’s absence. The placid pitch dished out by the insensible curator did not allow Randiv to prove his real worth. But Raina did enough to be counted for the next test, above other prolific batsmen of his team.

Randiv impressed with the start. Bowling on a placid pitch, he made the first breakthrough for Sri Lanka. He took the wicket of destroyer Sehwag, who has scored 99 till then, when it appeared that Indian opening partnership was taking the game away from Sri Lanka despite scoring 642 runs in first inning. After that he also broke the wall of Rahul Dravid claiming his second wicket. But, after that he had to toil a lot. He ended up bowling 73 overs in the match, with 16 maidens, but could not take third wicket. He got the dubious distinction of conceding 222 runs, the highest for a test debutant ever, and the fourth highest in a test match by any bowler.

Raina came to bat, when Randiv in the company of Mendis has put Sri Lanka on top. India still needed a mammoth score just to avoid follow on. Coming after the fall of 4th Indian wicket, he played under Tendulkar’s presence but made sure he does not remain just a shadow. He, with Tendulkar took India out of danger and later in a strong position, which other batsmen capitalized on to surpass the Sri Lankan total.

He became the 12th Indian to score century on debut. He also became the first Indian to score century on debut against Sri Lanka, and the third left-hander Indian batsman, afte Ganguly and Surinder Amarnath to score century on debut. His performance came as a big relief for India.

Both have proved even on the dead track, that they have the temperament for the big stage. Both are set to be the star of the future. Both took the fight to the opponents and made them reel down. Test Cricket needs such fighter.

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