Pak returns to Test cricket against SL

Pakistan will play their first Test match in 14 months when they take on bogey side Sri Lanka in a hastily arranged two-test series beginning on Saturday.

Written by Reuters | Karachi | Published:February 19, 2009 4:49 pm

Pakistan will play their first Test match in 14 months when they take on bogey side Sri Lanka in a hastily arranged two-test series beginning on Saturday.

Pakistan,who last played a test in December 2007 against India at Bangalore face opponents who have not lost a series in Pakistan since 1995.

“It is going to be a tough challenge for us because getting back into test match mode after such a long time is never easy,” Pakistan captain Younis Khan told Reuters on Thursday.

Security concerns voiced by overseas teams and tension in ties with India have limited Pakistan to one-day internationals since last year.

Australia postponed a full test tour in April 2008 due to safety reasons and the West Indies also turned down an invitation to tour.

Another major blow followed last December when the Indian side also pulled the plug on a scheduled tour in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks,dealing Pakistan a big financial loss.

Pakistan have,however,managed to convince Sri Lanka to visit for a one-day and test series.

“Given the sort of circumstances we have faced any cricket is a blessing for us,” said Younis. “It’s going to be an interesting series.

“Sri Lanka has a world-class spin attack,good pacers and they are the only team to have won two series in a row in Pakistan.” Pakistan’s selectors have included five test rookies in the squad,including fast bowler Mohammad Talha and opener Ahmed Shahzad,strong contenders to make their debuts on Saturday.

Sri Lanka have no such worries and will be keen to give Mahela Jayawardene the perfect send-off in his last series as captain.

“It would be a fantastic achievement for me if we can win this series. It would be a perfect farewell present and this is a motivating factor for the players,” Jayawardene said.

Teams from: Pakistan: Younis Khan (Capt),Salman Butt,Khurrum Manzoor,Ahmed Shahzad,Misbah-ul-Haq,Shoaib Malik,Faisal Iqbal,Asim Kamal,Kamran Akmal,Fawad Alam,Umar Gul,Sohail Khan,Yasir Arafat,Mohammad Talha,and Danish Kaneria.

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