Sri Lanka to make day-night Test debut in Dubai
Sri Lanka will play their first day-night Test in Dubai as a part of the two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE. The Test series will begin on September 28 in Abu Dhabi before the second Test in Dubai, which also hosted a day-night Test against West Indies last year.
The two Tests will be followed by five ODIs, before two T20Is in Abu Dhabi and the last one in Lahore on October 29, "subject to security clearance", according to a PCB release. International cricket will return to Pakistan after a long gap later this month when the hosts take on World XI for three T20Is, followed by the return of Sri Lanka, who had suffered a terror attack on their team bus in March 2009.
Out of the five day-night ODIs between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the first will be played in Dubai on October 13, the second and third in Abu Dhabi, and the last two in Sharjah. The Test series was originally scheduled to comprise three matches but was reduced to two to accommodate the series against the World XI.
The coming period will mark a historic time for fans in Pakistan who have only seen Zimbabwe visit the country for top-level international cricket since the 2009 attacks. Zimbabwe visited Lahore amid heavy security in May 2015 for two T20Is and three ODIs. Sri Lanka's return to Lahore is the first visit by a high-profile international team after eight-and-a-half years.
SLC showed interest in playing a T20 in Lahore, so long as "the logistical and operational plans fall in place". "I am keen to take my team to Pakistan," SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala had said at the Asian Cricket Council AGM in Colombo last month. "We have had our security experts visit and make an assessment, and things look positive with things improving all over the country and especially Lahore being cleared."
The PCB had offered SLC a day-night Test in late 2013 but the Sri Lankan board had rejected the proposal citing its players' lack of practice with the pink ball as the main reason.
In recent times, Pakistan have had good results in limited-overs matches, winnings ODI and T20I series in the West Indies and the Champions Trophy in June. While they also put an end to their six-Test losing streak - after being whitewashed in New Zealand and Australia - by winning a series 2-1 in the West Indies in April, Sri Lanka have been through a torrid time at home. They were whitewashed in all three formats by India recently and had even lost the ODI series to Zimbabwe 2-3 in June.