Pakistan to host first test match since 2009 Sri Lanka bus attack

Test cricket makes a return to Pakistan after more than 10 years as Sri Lankan cricket team agrees to tour in December.

Australia A v Pakistan - Tour Match
Pakistan did not host any international cricket for six years after the 2009 attack, with the team playing their home matches in the United Arab Emirates [File: Getty Images]

Pakistan is set to play its first international test match on home soil in more than a decade when it hosts the Sri Lankan cricket team for a two-match series next month.

Pakistan has not hosted the longer format of the sport – played more than five days – since the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore that left six security personnel and two civilians dead and six players injured.

“After more than 10 years, test cricket will return to Pakistan in December when Sri Lanka will play their World Test Championship matches in Rawalpindi and Karachi,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement on Thursday.

The first match in Rawalpindi will be played from December 11-15, while the southern city of Karachi will host the second match from December 19-23.

PCB said Sri Lanka agreed to go ahead with the test series after the successful staging of one-day and Twenty20 internationals in September and October.

“This is fabulous news for Pakistan and its reputation of being as safe and secure as any other country in the world,” said Zakir Khan, PCB’s director of international cricket, in a statement.

After a lapse of six years, international cricket returned to Pakistan in 2015 when Zimbabwe toured the country for one-day and Twenty20 matches.

That tour was completed despite a suicide blast near the venue, Gaddafi Stadium, in Lahore. 

Pakistan has hosted a number of limited-overs internationals in recent years, with Sri Lanka playing three ODIs and three T20 matches in September and October, though 10 key players opted out of that trip citing security concerns.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s Chief Executive Ashley de Silva said it was time for test cricket to return to Pakistan.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies