Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test, 2019: Sri Lanka bat first as Test cricket returns to Pakistan after 10 years

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 11, 2019, 11.26 AM(IST)

The cricket team captains Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne and Pakistan's Azhar Ali pose with Test series trophy ahead of the first Test cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Pindi Cricket Stadium Rawalpindi, Pakistan December 10, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The two-match series marks Pakistan's first tests on home soil since the 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore. 

Test cricket returns to Pakistan for the first time in a decade today as Sri Lanka lock horns with the hosts in Rawalpindi for the opening game of the two-match series.

The visiting Sri Lankan team were given a warm reception on their arrival in Islamabad on Monday - with the Pakistan cricket board keen to mark this series as a watershed moment.

The two captains posed with the trophy for the series - which is officially part of the ICC world test championships - in Rawalpindi before going through the paces with their respective sides.

The hosts are keen to bounce back from a disastrous tour of Australia in which they suffered big innings defeats in both matches. In fact, they have not won a Test series since beating Australia in Dubai last year.

Pakistan will find a familiar face in the opposition camp - that of their former coach Mickey Arthur who is now in charge of the Sri Lankans.

The Islanders last played Tests in august in a home series against new Zealand that ended in a 1-1 draw. Before that, they had stunned South Africa in South Africa before the world cup.

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and opted to bat under overcast skies in the opening test against hosts Pakistan.

Experienced middle-order batsman Dinesh Chandimal is back in the Sri Lanka side for the first time since losing the captaincy after their defeat by Australia in Canberra in February.

Sri Lanka included one frontline spinner in Dilruwan Perera, dropped opening batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and brought in Oshada Fernando, who played the last of his two tests in February against South Africa.

The hosts, led by Azhar Ali, went with an all-pace attack with four fast bowlers in debutant Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, and Shaheen Afridi.

Opening batsman Abid Ali will make his debut in place of Imam-ul-Haq while there was no place for experienced leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

Teams

Sri Lanka - Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara

Pakistan - Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi

(With inputs from agencies)