Pakistan cricket was left in tatters in 2009, after a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by a group of militants on the third day of the Lahore Test. Since then, Pakistan have been forced to play their home matches in the UAE and they have taken on the Islanders more than any other side.
A look at the number of Tests Pakistan played since 2009 attack
From the start of 2000 till March 2009 (including the Tests in Karachi and Lahore), both teams played 13 Tests against each other. Similarly, due to more bilateral series between the two Asian cricket giants, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been pitted against each other a lot more in white-ball cricket as well, having played 54 times since the attack.
No. of ODIs and T20Is played by Pakistan post 2009 attack
The contests between two sides have shown some great viewing.
Here is a look at some of the series between the two sides which went very close and provided some action-packed stuff for cricket fans.
This was a three-match Test series and the first Test at Abu Dhabi had ended in a draw, as both teams batted for long periods while the bowlers struggled to create impact.
Pakistan lost the second Test at Dubai due to a batting collapse on the first day. Sri Lanka bowled extremely well by getting the most out of the conditions and hitting the areas (on around off-stump) where batsmen are not comfortable.
Sri Lanka notched up 388 runs in reply to Pakistan’s 165, getting a lead of 223 runs which proved to affect the outcome of the match. Pakistan batters did well in the second innings by scoring 359 but Sri Lanka easily chased down a total of 137 runs.
Victory in the third Test at Sharjah would mean Sri Lanka winning the series 2-0 while for Pakistan, it was a chance to preserve their unbeaten record at the UAE.
Sri Lanka started off the proceedings with 428 runs on the board. In reply, Pakistan batting got to 341 in the second innings including a brilliant 147 by Ahmed Shehzad.
Sri Lanka’s batting collapsed in the third innings as they only got to 214 runs. That meant Pakistan required 302 to win in two sessions. Azhar Ali ended up with a scintillating 137-ball 103.
This innings turned around Azhar's career
Fittingly, Misbah scored the winning runs and curled an imaginary moustache at the dressing room to dedicate the win to Dave Whatmore, whose two-year stint finished with the match.
Misbah's gesture was the highlight of the series
The series ended in a draw but it was a grueling contest.
Pakistan were in Sri Lanka hoping to put up a better show than last time where they struggled against the left-arm spin of Rangana Herath and got whitewashed in the two Test series. Pakistan comprehensively won the first Test at Galle but Sri Lanka came back strongly in the Colombo Test.
Pakistan opted to bat first, keeping the effectiveness of Yasir Shah on the last day of the match in their minds. However, the visitors were shot down for 138 runs and that meant Sri Lanka had to put up a big score to keep Pakistan out of the game.
Sri Lanka scored 315 in their first innings with Kaushal Silva and Angelo Mathews doing most of the work. Pakistan tried hard to undo the damage that had been done but couldn’t and only managed to put up a target of 153 runs which was easily chased down by the hosts.
Now, the game was all set for the third Test at Pallekele. Sri Lanka didn’t put up a big total in the first innings and neither did Pakistan, but a massive third innings meant Pakistan had to chase down 377 to win the Test match. Ahmed Shehzad and Azhar Ali were dismissed cheaply but that didn’t bother Shan Masood and Younis Khan. Both batsmen looked at ease and scored hundreds. Younis went on to make 171 without getting dismissed. It was one of his best innings ever.
Shan with his mentor
Both teams were facing off in a two match T20I series at the UAE. In the first game, Pakistan bowled well enough to keep a check on Sri Lankan batting, restricting them to 145 on the board. In reply, Pakistan lost seven wickets but Afridi’s heroics at the end ensured Pakistan crossed the line.
Afridi did what he can when at his best - destroying the opposition
One day later, both teams faced off at the same venue. This time around, Sri Lankan batters ensured that their side crossed the 200 mark. Pakistan needed 212 to take the series, but could only reach 187 in what was a run-fest. Sri Lanka won the second game by 24 runs. The series was leveled.
After winning the Test and ODI series, it was time for the T20Is. Pakistan were batting first in the first game at Colombo. The likes of Shehzad, Shoaib Malik and Umer Akmal got Pakistan to a competitive total of 175. In reply, Sri Lanka couldn’t quite pull off things as they would have liked. Anwar Ali and Sohail Tanvir shared five wickets between themselves. Pakistan won the first game by 29 runs.
The second game was a chance for both teams to avail. A win for Pakistan would give them the series win. A victory for Sri Lanka would level the series.
Sri Lanka were batting first in the second game. This time around their batsmen performed extremely well, setting up a total of 173 runs. Pakistan batting collapsed. They required 66 off 36 balls when Afridi was cleaned by a right arm offie. Someone had to step up. Anwar Ali did what almost seemed impossible. Targeting the leg-side boundary, the all rounder took Pakistan roaring towards the finish line.
Anwar Ali pulled things off in an astonishing way
By the time Anwar was dismissed, Pakistan only required six runs off the last over. Imad finished off the proceedings with a six over long-on to give Pakistan an unlikely one-wicket win.