Test cricket to finally return to Pakistan with Sri Lanka tour

Pakistani cricketers celebrate after a victorious outing

Test cricket will return to Pakistan after a long gap of 10 years after Sri Lanka agreed to a tour for two matches next month, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Thursday.

The vote of confidence from Sri Lanka is hugely symbolic, as it was the attack on their team bus during a visit to Lahore in 2009 which drove international cricket away from Pakistan as the country grappled with militancy.

Six policemen and two civilians were killed while seven Sri Lankan players were injured in the attack.

For years afterwards, Pakistan hosted all its “home” games in the United Arab Emirates as foreign teams refused to visit the cricket-mad country for security fears.

But Pakistan has seen a dramatic improvement in security in recent years, and international cricket has begun to creep back.

Minnows Zimbabwe became the first team to return Pakistan in 2015 for one-days and Twenty20s, followed by a Twenty20 series by a World XI in 2017, a one-off T20 match against Sri Lanka later that year, and a visit by the West Indies in 2018.

Sri Lanka also completed three one-day internationals and as many Twenty20s in Karachi and Lahore last month.

But the announcement of a test series, still the most highly regarded cricket format, is an important step – especially when it involves Sri Lanka.

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