After a forgettable tour to Pakistan 6 years ago, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have continued with bilateral series over the years. Sri Lanka has never toured Pakistan after the incident but this will not be the first time Pakistan is visiting Sri Lanka after the incident.
Pakistan are fresh from a historic tour of Zimbabwe as international cricket returned to their country. They outplayed the minnows comprehensively and are full of confidence. Sri Lanka on the other hand, have had a huge break from the sport after the World Cup. But they will not be short of self belief after having a lot of time to practice in familiar conditions.
The 1st test between the two teams will be played at the Galle International Stadium in the city of Galle. It will start on Wednesday the 17th of June. The pitch at Galle has traditionally produced high scores but provides plenty for the spinners. The weather however, can be a hindrance with thunderstorms expected on all 5 days of the test match.
The Sri Lankan team will play their first international game after the world cup. They host Pakistan in a 3 match test series and will want to take full advantage of the home conditions. They will play their first game from a long time without their star Mahela Jayawardane, who has now retired.
But they will hope that Sangakkara, another legend of the game will rise up-to the occasion and proves to be the difference between the two teams. They will want to use the home advantage to the fullest and beat Pakistan convincingly.
Pakistan has a lot to sort out in their team. The last test series away from home ended in a draw in Bangladesh. The Pakistan bowlers were belted all around the park and this was something that has not happened for a long time.
Sri Lanka, who will prove much tougher, will make Pakistan sweat it out and that too away from home. Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq will be the players that the whole team will look up to. They will want to rectify their mistakes and show the whole world that they are still a very serious team.
Angelo Mathews (Captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Jehan Mubarak, Kusal Perera, Rangana Herath, Tharindu Kaushal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera/Suranga Lakmal (subject to fitness).
Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali (vice captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed (wicket-keeper), Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan and Ehsan Adil.
The last game between the two teams at this venue ended in a memorable 7 wicket victory for the hosts. They will want to replicate the same effort and give their best for a victory.
Pakistan on the other hand would want to forget the game and play good cricket to challenge the Sri Lankan side. With both teams having equal quality and talent in their squad, the home advantage may just make the Sri Lankan’s favorite for the first test match.
It will not be easy for Sri Lanka to get back into the groove of international cricket so quickly. Sangakkara may well be playing his last home series and this has made the series even more iconic for cricket fans. Both teams are very closely matched and this match may be a great one to watch if the skies stay clear.