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Test cricket set to return to Pakistan 10 years after Sri Lanka team bus was attacked

The first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka from November 11 and the second will be played at the famous National Stadium in Karachi from November 19.

SNS | New Delhi |

10 years after the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore, Test cricket will return to Pakistan when they again host Sri Lanka for two matches of the World Test Championship in Rawalpindi and Karachi.

The first Test will be at the Pindi Cricket Stadium from November 11 and the second will be played at the famous National Stadium in Karachi from November 19.

Earlier, the islanders were originally scheduled to play One-Day cricket in December and red-ball cricket in October. But Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) interchanged to get time for security assessment of the two venues.

Sri Lanka had earlier toured Pakistan in September for a three-match One-Day International (ODI) series and as many Twenty-20 Internationals (T20I). While the ODI series was won 2-0 by Pakistan, Sri Lanka had defeated Pakistan 3-0 in the shortest format.

However, the series was not attended by many senior Sri Lanka cricketers including Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga. The players had pulled out citing security concerns.

It remains to be seen if the islanders would be sending another second-string team or the senior players will be comfortable travelling to Pakistan this time, given their own board and ICC have cleared the security arrangements there.

SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva said, “We are pleased to confirm our return visit to Pakistan as, based on our earlier visit, we are comfortable and convinced conditions are suitable and conducive for Test cricket.”

“This is a 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,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Director Zakir Khan said on the official statement.

In March 2009, Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus was subjected to a terror attack near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore when the team were heading towards the stadium to play the second day of the third Test against Pakistan.

Since then international cricket in Pakistan took a back seat as teams from across the world rejected to travel the country due to security concerns.

However, in recent times, teams like Zimbabwe, Kenya and now Sri Lanka have shown their faith and have played in the country.

Also with the playoff matches of the star-studded Pakistan Super League (PSL) being staged in Pakistan, instead of the United Arab Emirates which host the maximum number of matches, mainstream cricket is on a quest of redemption there.