T20 finalists ready for Test
Pakistan and Sri Lanka are set for an emotional return to Test cricket on Saturday.
Last Updated: 02/07/09 8:35pm
Almost four months to the day after a militant attack halted their last contest, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are set for a return to Test cricket.
The three-Test series, starting Saturday, will be the first meeting between the nations since armed gunmen fired on the Sri Lankan team bus while the players were on their way to resume a Test match in the Pakistani city of Lahore on March 3.
Seven Sri Lankan cricketers were injured and eight local security men were killed in the attack, forcing the International Cricket Council to abandon Pakistan as a venue for international cricket.
They have since met in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in June, though, and Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam is keen to see his side repeat their success.
"The key to winning the series against a strong Sri Lankan team will be our ability to adjust to demanding Test match cricket in hot and humid weather," said Alam.
"We can't afford to look back. Winning the Twenty20 title will mean little when the first ball is bowled in the Test series. It's a different ball game."
History is also on Pakistan's side as they have never lost a Test series in Sri Lanka - winning three, including the past two in 2000 and 2006, and drawing the other two.
But opposition skipper Kumar Sangakkara is confident his team can deliver, despite the emotion surrounding the occasion.
"Lahore is not on our minds, the team has done a really great job mentally getting over it," said Sangakkara. "It was heartbreaking to lose the Twenty20 final but we had a great tournament.
"I am proud of the way the team played in England and I am confident we will do as well in the Test matches."
The teams face off at Galle International Stadium on Saturday before then moving to Colombo for the second Test from July 12-16 and then on to the Sinhalese sports club from July 20-24.