After getting Sri Lanka to tour for three ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals, Pakistan is all set to break into new territory in 2019 with two Tests against the same opponents in December. The Tests against Sri Lanka, which will be part of the ICC World Test Championship, will be played in the country for the first time since 2009. After the Lahore terror attacks in March 2009 which stopped tours to Pakistan by foreign teams, the upcoming two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi will be the first in Pakistan in a decade. When Sri Lanka had gone for the ODI and Twenty20 International series, many key players decided to stay away due to security concerns.
However, the tour went off without a hitch and Pakistan won the ODI series 2-0 only to be whitewashed 3-0. The security arrangements and the successful matches has resulted in Pakistan finally playing a Test at home in 10 years. Having picked an under-strength side for the ODIs and T20Is, Sri Lanka have now included some key players in the Test side. Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews make a comeback into the 16-member Test side that will be led by Dimuth Karunaratne.
Chandimal missed out on the Test series against New Zealand due to poor form while Mathews has struggled for impact in the last couple of years, managing an average of under 30. Apart from Chandimal, the squad sees the inclusion of Kasun Rajitha in place of Akila Dananjaya, with the spinner serving a one-year ban for possessing an illegal action.
The Test series was originally scheduled for October at a neutral venue because of security concerns, but the PCB requested Sri Lanka to play the entire bilateral series in Pakistan. The first Test will start on December 11 in Rawalpindi, followed by the second in Karachi from December 19. Pakistan's first series in the ICC World Test Championships is currently underway against Australia and they have lost the first Test in Brisbane by an innings.
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