After hundreds of practice sessions and many sacrifices, an opportunity to represent the country is bound to be exhilarating. And there are very few things for a cricketer that is better than the joy of scoring a hundred or bagging a five-wicket haul on debut.
But playing the longest format of the game against quality sides could be equally nerve-wracking. And a pair of ducks or a long, tiring, wicketless outing with the ball on debut could damage a player beyond repair.
While a few fail to recover from the heartbreaks and vanish into oblivion, there are some who endure them and become the greats of the game. Over the years Sri Lanka has produced few terrific test players. The likes of Arjuna Ranatunga, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, and Mahela Jayawardene have lit the cricketing world with their unmatched skills and inspiring performances.
All legends end their careers with incredible numbers and records, but not all of them had starts that were encouraging.
Here’s a list of five such Sri Lankan players who had poor Test debuts but went on to have great careers.
#5 Aravinda De Silva
Performance on debut: 16 and 3 against England, 1984
The belligerent right-hander, Aravinda De Silva, is one of the finest batsmen that Sri Lanka has produced. But he had a rather disappointing start to his career as he got out caught behind for 16 and 3 on his debut. But he wasn’t disheartened by the failure, and scored a promising fifty in his third match.
He faced lot of criticism early in his career as he often failed to capitalise on good starts. But, the Sri Lankan superstar quickly learnt the art of building an innings and became a vital cog in the batting line up.
Test career stats
The flamboyant batsman scored his maiden hundred against Pakistan in 1985. His innings of 122 came in testing conditions against a quality bowling attack and was a sign of things to come.