Test cricket to return to Pakistan with Sri Lanka’s visit

Asad Shafiq of Pakistan bats during the Test cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Dubai International Cricket Ground in Dubai on October 10, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 14 November 2019

Test cricket to return to Pakistan with Sri Lanka’s visit

  • Sri Lanka will play a two-match series at Rawalpindi and Karachi next month
  • The series is part of ICC’s World Test Championship

ISLAMABAD: Test cricket is set to return to Pakistan after more than 10 years when Sri Lanka plays a two-match series at Rawalpindi and Karachi next month.
Sri Lanka was the last team to play a test match in Pakistan in March 2009, when the team’s bus came under attack at Lahore. Eight people were killed during the terror attack, and several Sri Lankan players were injured.
All incoming tours were canceled after the attack and Pakistan later lost its status as a co-host for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday said Sri Lanka Cricket had confirmed next month’s tour would go ahead, based on the successful staging of a series of one-day and Twenty20 internationals at Karachi and Lahore in September and October.
Sri Lanka was originally scheduled to play the test series last month and then return to Pakistan for a limited-overs series in December. However, the tours were swapped so that Sri Lanka officials could assess the security situation in Pakistan before deciding on the test venues.
Rawalpindi is now scheduled to host the first test from Dec. 11-15, and the second test will be played at Karachi from Dec. 19-23. The series is part of ICC’s World Test Championship.
Zakir Khan, the PCB’s director of operations, said that the confirmation of next month’s test matches reflected confidence in Pakistan’s safety situation.
“This series is part of our cricket celebrations and we will leave no stone unturned in putting up a show which is a memorable one for the players, officials, fans and media,” Khan said.
Several top Sri Lanka players withdrew from the limited-overs series in Pakistan because of security concerns. Sri Lanka lost the ODI series 2-0 after the first game was washed out, but it’s second-string team sprung a huge surprise when it swept Pakistan 3-0 in the Twenty20 series at Lahore.
The SLC said it was satisfied with the visit and the high-level security provided for the team.
Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva said he believed cricket’s member nations should host their home matches in their own countries.
“We believe all cricket playing countries should host international cricket at home and in this relation we are happy to play our part in complete resumption of international cricket in Pakistan, which not only has a proud history but has been one of our biggest supporters in our early days as a cricket nation,” he said.
“We drew our opening World Test Championship series against New Zealand, and I anticipate, like in the past, these two tests will be exciting and competitive, and the fans will thoroughly enjoy the quality of cricket that will be on display.”
Pakistan has hosted its home games at neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates and in England during the last decade. The Pakistan team will play two test matches in Australia before returning for the series against Sri Lanka.


Wet weather delays resumption of Pakistan vs Sri Lanka test

Updated 34 min 16 sec ago

Wet weather delays resumption of Pakistan vs Sri Lanka test

  • Overnight rain left plenty of water on the covers at the Pindi Cricket Stadium
  • The possibility of play before lunch on Saturday looks unlikely

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Rain for the third consecutive day has delayed the resumption of the first test in Pakistan in 10 years.
Overnight rain left plenty of water on the covers at the Pindi Cricket Stadium and the outfield is also soggy.
The ground staff is busy in clearing water off the covers, but its still quite heavily overcast and the possibility of play before lunch on Saturday looks unlikely.
Sri Lanka, which last played a test in Pakistan in 2009, is 282-6 in its first innings with Dhananjaya de Silva unbeaten on 87 and Dilruwan Perera not out on 6.
So far only 91.5 overs of play has been possible in the first test of the two-match series which is part of ICC’s World Test Championship.
The wet weather in the northern city of Pakistan has badly affected the revival of test cricket in Pakistan for over a decade. Rawalpindi last hosted a test match in 2004 when India beat Pakistan by an innings margin.
Sri Lanka was the last team to play a test match in Pakistan, when terrorists attacked the touring team’s bus in Lahore in March 2009. The ambush killed eight people and left several Sri Lankan players and officials injured.
In the interim, Pakistan has played its home test matches on neutral territory, mostly in the United Arab Emirates.