Suresh Raina made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka back in 2005. And it took him five long years to make his maiden Test appearance. It happened against the Lankans itself in July 2010 at the SSC in Colombo. Unlike his first ODI where he got a duck, he started Test cricket with a flurry, scoring 120 runs in the first innings. But he couldn’t have played the game had Yuvraj Singh not fallen sick.
Yuvraj played the first game at Galle, but missed out on the second, reportedly, due to a stomach infection. A night prior to the Colombo Test, the Uttar Pradesh-born Raina recalled how Yuvraj called him and asked him to be prepared for a debut.
Couldn’t sleep the entire night: Suresh Raina
“Yuvi paa (Yuvraj Singh) had called me up the night before the Test match and said, ‘I’m unwell, you be prepared’. He said ‘chances are there that you’ll play’. He probably had a stomach bug or a food infection, so he didn’t play,” Raina was quoted as saying to Aakash Chopra on YouTube.
Raina had butterflies in the stomach on the thoughts of playing alongside some of the biggest names in Sri Lankan cricket. “I couldn’t sleep the entire night because it was so hot in Sri Lanka, they had some big names in their team and it was going to be my Test debut,” he stated.
To start with Raina had a couple of days to get a feel of the conditions before he batted on the third day. “Luckily we lost the toss and we had to field. So, I observed the first two days and when my batting came, I was ready. If we had batted then probably I would’ve got a duck like my ODI on debut,” the veteran added.
In the first innings, Lanka hammered 642/4 declared courtesy Kumar Sangakkara’s 219 and centuries from Navod Paranavitana and Mahela Jayawardene. In reply, India smashed 707, taking a first-innings lead of 65 runs.
Sachin Tendulkar’s 203 coupled with Raina’s century got India to safer shores. Virender Sehwag got out on 99. Raina didn’t get a chance to bat in the second innings as the match ended in a draw.
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