Pakistan to host Test cricket after 10 years as Sri Lanka agree to tour in December

Rawalpindi and Karachi to host two-Test series, which will mark the first complete tour by a visiting team to the country in a decade

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 13: Shaheen Shah Afridi of Pakistan congratulates Naseem Shah after dismissing Marcus Harris of Australia during day three of the International Tour match between Australia A and Pakistan at Optus Stadium on November 13, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
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Pakistan is all set to host its first Test in a decade after Sri Lanka agreed play two matches in the country next month.

The Pakistan and Sri Lankan cricket boards made the announcement on Thursday in what is seen as a huge win for those trying to bring top international cricket back to the country.

After all, it was the militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus during their visit to Lahore in 2009 which resulted in Pakistan's isolation as international cricket hosts. For the next decade, Pakistan were forced to play all their 'home' matches in the UAE.

But over the last few years, cricket teams have started to visit the country. Zimbabwe were the first team to travel to Pakistan in 2015 for ODIs and T20s, followed by a Twenty20 series against a 'World XI' in 2017. Thereafter, West Indies visited in 2018.

Last month, Sri Lanka played an ODI and T20 series in the country, but several top players decided to skip the tour due to security concerns. The two-Test clash in December, therefore, will be the most significant development in Pakistan cricket in recent years.

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

"We are thankful to Sri Lanka Cricket for agreeing to send their team for the longer version of the game, which will contribute significantly in the PCB’s efforts and drive for regular resumption of international cricket."

Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva said his country was glad to be part of the historic series.

“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," De Silva 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."

The first Test will be played in Rawalpindi from December 11-15, while the second Test will be held in Karachi from December 19-23. The two matches will be part of the world Test championship.