Sri Lanka have not lost a Test series in Pakistan since 1992 and they will be aiming to continue their unbeaten run. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Test cricket is all set to return to Pakistan after a decade. Fittingly, it will be Sri Lanka who will play a big part in Tests returning to the country after a decade of isolation. International teams stopped touring Pakistan after a deadly terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009. After six years, Zimbabwe broke the ice with a tour and since then, West Indies, the ICC World XI and Sri Lanka have toured the nation as the security situation improves in the country. The upcoming two-Test series will be part of the ongoing ICC World Test Championships and it will be played in Rawalpindi and Karachi. However, Sri Lanka will also be returning to a country where they have had tremendous success. In overall Test statistics between the two nations, Pakistan hold a slight edge of 18-15 but Sri Lanka have a clear edge in Pakistan, having not lost a single bilateral Test series in the country for 27 years.
Sri Lanka started touring Pakistan in 1982 and in the first three series, Pakistan were the clear winners with victory margins of 2-0, 2-0 and 1-0.. After the 1992 series, Sri Lanka has held the clear advantage. In the 1995 series, Pakistan won the first Test at Peshawar by an innings and 40 runs thanks to Wasim Akram's five-wicket haul and Inzamam-ul-Haq's 95. However, Sri Lanka turned the course of the series spectacularly. In Faisalabad, Hashan Tillakaratne hit 115 and Aravinda de Silva hit 105 to give Sri Lanka the edge. It took Muttiah Muralitharan's five-wicket haul and Chaminda Vaas' four wickets to help Sri Lanka win for the first time.
In the decider at Sialkot, Arjuna Ranatunga hit 87 and four-wicket hauls from Pramodya Wickramasinghe and Vaas helped Sri Lanka win by 144 runs and clinch the series 2-1. Repeat In 1999 In the first match at Rawalpindi, De Silva scored yet another century but Younis Khan's century on debut helped Pakistan set a target of 220. Sanath Jayasuriya hit fifty but Abdul Razzaq's four wickets gave Pakistan hope. Ranatunga and Romesh Kaluwitharana held their nerve to give Sri Lanka a nervous two-wicket win. In the second Test at Peshawar, Marvan Atapattu hit 75 and the visitors took a lead of 69. Russell Arnold hit 99 and despite Mohammad Yousuf's 88, Muttiah Muralitharan took 6/71 as Sri Lanka won their second consecutive series. Inzamam-ul-Haq's 86 and 138 in Karachi gave Pakistan a consolation 222-run win as Sri Lanka won the series 2-1.
Stalemate In 2004, Terror In 2009
Thilan Samaraweera hit a century in the Faisalabad Test but Shoaib Akhtar's five-wicket haul helped Pakistan take a 22-run win. Sanath Jayasuriya turned the course of the game by smashing a whirlwind 253. Chasing 451, Dilhara Fernando and Rangana Herath took four wickets apiece as Sri Lanka won by 201 runs. However, Pakistan came back on level terms in the Karachi Test. Abdul Razzaq took 5/35 and centuries from Younis Khan and Inzamam helped Pakistan take a 270-run lead. Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara hit centuries but Danish Kaneria's 7/118 helped Pakistan chase down 137 to win by six wickets and level the series.
In 2009, the Karachi wicket produced a nightmare strip for the bowlers as Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera hit 240 and 231 respectively to post 644/7 declared. Younis Khan blasted his maiden triple ton and Kamran Akmal hit 158 as Pakistan declared on 765/6 declared. Sri Lanka ended on 144/5 as the match ended in a draw. In Lahore, Sangakkara hit a century and Samaraweera notched up his second consecutive double ton. Tillakaratne Dilshan hit 145 as Umar Gul ended with 6/135. Pakistan reached 110/0 at the end of day 2 but on day 3, the terror attacks forced the Sri Lankan team to abandon the match and it was cancelled.