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

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Test cricket is set to return to Pakistan after more than 10 years when Sri Lanka play a two-match series at Rawalpindi and Karachi next month.

Sri Lanka were 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 cancelled after the attack and Pakistan lost their status as a co-host for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) yesterday said Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had confirmed next month’s tour would go ahead, based on the successful staging of a series of one-day international (ODI) and Twenty20 international 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 December 11-15, and the second test will be played at Karachi from December 19-23. The series is part of International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Test Championship.

PCB’s Director of Operations Zakir Khan 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 they swept Pakistan 3-0 in the Twenty20 series in Lahore.