Test cricket will return to Pakistan after more than a decade with Sri Lanka on agreeing for a two-match series in December.
The series will be a part of the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship cycle.
The upcoming series’ first Test will be played in Rawalpindi from December 11 to 15, while the second Test will be held in Karachi from December 19 to 23. Lahore has been kept out of the islander’s itinerary in Pakistan.
After a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team’s bus in 2009 when they were heading to the Gadaffi Stadium from the hotel had compelled Pakistan to play their home series on overseas venues as international teams had refused to visit the terror-torn nation due to security concerns. Test cricket yet again returns to Pakistan with Sri Lanka, the last team to play a Test series on Pakistan soil.
Sri Lanka has played a bilateral ODI and T20 International series in Pakistan in September-October earlier this year despite 10 of its top players, including ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Twenty20 skipper Lasith Malinga, opting out due to security concerns.
“This is fabulous news for Pakistan cricket and its reputation of being as safe and secure as any other country in the world. We are thankful to Sri Lanka Cricket for agreeing to send their team for the longer version of the game,” PCB Director (International Cricket) Zakir Khan said in a statement.
Khan said the confirmation will contribute to the PCB’s efforts towards ensuring a regular resumption of international cricket in the country. Incidentally, Sri Lanka was also the last team to play Test cricket in Pakistan, back in 2009.
The island nation’s team was attacked by terrorists in Lahore during that tour, leading to a freeze in international cricket in Pakistan.
Sri Lanka were originally scheduled to play Tests in October and then return in December for a limited-overs’ series but the matches were swapped to “provide them the opportunity to assess the situation before deciding on the Test venues”.
“Now that the itinerary has been confirmed, we will shift our focus on series preparations to ensure we deliver arrangements as per our very high standards,” Khan said.
Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva said based on an earlier visit, the SLC is comfortable and convinced that conditions are suitable and conducive for Test cricket.
“We also 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,” he said.
Schedule: First Test: December 11 to 15 (Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi); 2nd Test : December 19 to 23 (National Stadium, Karachi).