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Cricket news - Live Cricket Score - Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test, 2019

Test cricket returns to Pakistan after 10 years

Test cricket returns to Pakistan after 10 years

Both openers gone

It's Naseem Shah's turn now, and what a lovely ball from him to get rid of Oshada Fernando. Fernando was opening up a bit, which may have contributed to him going with hard hands at a delivery which kicked up from a length. It straightens a touch too, taking the outside shoulder of the bat to first slip. Pakistan have certainly got a lift post lunch.

Afridi strikes

Full, fast and straight, and Karunaratne falters. He plays across the line and his balance falls over. Wonder what prompted him to take the review because his bat was nowhere close. Anyway, the wicket's come shortly after lunch to buoy Pakistan. Didn't they need this badly.

Wicketless opening session

A stray over from left-arm spinner Haris Sohail concludes the opening session and probably sends some alarm bells ringing for Pakistan. Oshada Fernando, fairly subdued right through, saw the spinner as an opportunity, came down and lofted him back for six. It seals a brilliant opening session for the visitors who took the call of batting first that wasn't as straightforward on a greenish pitch. Then their captain led the way with a fifty as Pakistan's bowlers were blunted. Ominous signs already. SL - 89/0

Karunaratne struck on back of neck

First things first, the Lankan captain looks absolutely fine. He ducked into a short ball from Naseem Shah which didn't bounce a great deal, so the left-hander wasn't able to get out of the way. But he had a smile on his face to ease any concerns, even as the physio came out to have a look. Only a glancing blow.

The bail doesn't come off

Karunaratne hears the death rattle behind him after shouldering arms, but he's still alive. What is this sorcery! It's that bail. It's this phenomenon in cricket recently. The dreaded bails not coming off. Brilliant, testing over from Usman Shinwari, bending it into the left-hander. He strikes the Lankan captain's pads a couple of times, then has him misjudging the movement and almost starts celebrating. Everyone heard the quite audible tok off the off stump. But the breakthrough remains elusive.

SL openers steadfast

It's a nippy morning in Rawalpindi, both in terms of weather and movement. Movement's a lot more subtle than the weather as far as impact is concerned, but it's still enough to keep bowlers interested. And it's taken a fair deal of patience and determination for the Lankan openers to get through the opening hour. In fact, Oshada Fernando has gone without scoring a run and we're in the 13th over. He's still on nought, although Karunaratne has definitely had a lot more of the strike. Still quite remarkable.

Not much happening?

The first half-hour done without incident. Well, that's not entirely true. We did have a member of the groundstaff jog in leisurely with a bucket of sawdust to cure Usman Shinwari's landing issues. But cricketing wise, a couple of plays and misses aside, there's not much going on off the seam. Although it's way too early to arrive at any conclusion. So keep your eyes glued.

Let's play

An uncharacteristically loose over from Mohammad Abbas gets us underway. Pitch looks a little slow to start with, which is understandable given all the moisture. Sun's out now though and with some baking, expect it to quicken up a tad.

Savour this, will ya?

Pakistan Cricket @TheRealPCB It is a historic day. It is a historic venue. Here is more about Pindi Cricket Stadium. #PAKvSL Test series starts TODAY! 03:02 AM • Dec 12, 2019

How's the pitch

Pakistan picking four seamers probably gives a fair idea. Rawalpindi, traditionally, is known to be one of the more helpful venues for seamers. And this pitch was under covers for most of the lead-up into this match. There's enough green there, but what will that translate to is anybody's guess. However, going in without a regular spinner having dropped Yasir Shah, hmm, not sure about that.

Teams

Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Dimuth Karunaratne(c), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Dilruwan Perera, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara

Pakistan (Playing XI): Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali(c), Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan(w), Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi

Sri Lanka opt to bat

Shan Masood may have said this was like a second debut for them, but here's some actual debutants:

Pakistan Cricket @TheRealPCB Big day for @AbidAli_Real and @Usmanshinwari6 as they are all set to make their Test debut ???????? #PAKvSL 04:20 AM • Dec 12, 2019

And it's here

It was cold, it was damp earlier in the morning. But if you think weather doesn't care about historic matches of Test cricket, you'd be wrong. For the Rawalpindi clouds have cleared enough to allow this occasion to take centrestage. Welcome to Test cricket's return in Pakistan after over 10 years.

Gosh, where to even begin traversing this glorious labyrinth of pure emotion. Okay, let's start with the homecoming. Ten years after a Sri Lankan team was attack during a Test match in Lahore, they have returned to culminate the long-format exile imposed following that terrorist attack. And they have returned with a full-strength squad, unlike the limited-overs tour a couple of months back where 10 regulars had pulled out. They've also brought Pakistan's former head coach Mickey Arthur who was sacked after a disappointing World Cup. Not to mention their insane run of unpredictability which has seen them beat South Africa in South Africa.

As for Pakistan, with all the emotions around this series as Azhar Ali himself admitted, they'll do well to find a way around that. Their onfield performances have been miserable, culminating in a disastrous tour of Australia. There's a six-match losing streak to snap. That's for later though. Stay with us as we get you all the latest.

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