It is almost after a decade that Test cricket will return to Pakistan. Sri Lanka, who were the last team to feature in red-ball cricket in Pakistan, would become the first side to resume playing Test cricket against their subcontinent rivals. Ahead of the first Test in Rawalpindi from December 11th, veteran fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has been ruled out of the entire Test series.
The 32-year old is suffering from dengue and hence didn’t travel with the side, who were scheduled to depart for Pakistan on Sunday to play the two-Test series which is a part of the World Test Championship. Lakmal last played a Test against New Zealand at home in a two-match Test series. He picked four wickets in two Tests.
The 22-year old fast bowler Asitha Fernando has been named as his replacement. Asitha Fernando has spent his last few months playing for Emerging Teams and Sri Lanka’s U-23 teams. Sri Lanka Cricket Board’s CEO Ashley de Silva confirmed the news of the pace spearhead not being able to feature in the historical Test series. He is down with dengue and will not be travelling with the team,” De Silva was quoted as saying by Bol News.
Sri Lanka’s exploits in Pakistan in the limited-overs leg
Sri Lanka toured Pakistan in September and October, playing three T20Is and as many ODIs. The tourists lost the ODI series by a margin of 2-0 but bounced back handsomely well by blanking the number one T20 team by 3-0 in the shortest format. The Test series was initially planned to take place in a neutral venue.
However, following the success of the limited-overs leg earlier, it got shifted to Pakistan. The first Test is scheduled to take place in Rawalpindi from December 11th and the second Test would begin in Karachi from 19th. Unlike their limited-overs leg, the visitors have announced a full-strength squad for the Test series.
The likes of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, who refused to tour Pakistan previously, have agreed to make themselves a part of the Test series to bolster the middle-order. Dimuth Karunaratne, who turned down in visiting the country for the ODI series, will also return to lead the side.
Meanwhile, Mickey Arthur was unveiled as Sri Lanka’s new ‘consultant’ head coach. The 51-year old South African who served as the head coach of Pakistan previously, will succeed Rumesh Ratnayake, who worked in an interim capacity.
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