The 29-year-old, who has played one-day cricket for both England and Ireland, twice managed just one delivery in a spell before pulling up with a hamstring strain on each occasion.
That he was sent back onto the field with a dodgy hammy seemed some form of black comedy from the England camp, which has lurched from one drama to the next on a miserable tour.
Rankin started the day on a high - receiving his first Test cap under overcast skies.
Better yet, once skipper Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bowl, the tall right-arm quick knew he'd get the chance to show off in front of 45,000 fans at one of world cricket's iconic grounds.
Sadly, that was to be the high point of his day.
After initially struggling to find his length on a green-tinged SCG wicket, Rankin looked to be getting into a rhythm before disaster struck.
He was able to bowl just one ball of his ninth over before feeling his hamstring tighten.
After a brief consultation with the team physio, Rankin retreated to the dressing room for a more thorough assessment.
He came out an hour later and had another crack - bowling one more ball before again succumbing to tendon issues at the back of his right leg.
His day was over, and his Test debut had given him precious few memorable moments.