Cricket: India and Pakistan to stage Test series

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The Independent Online
PAKISTAN AND India are to put an end to a 10-year stand-off after it was announced yesterday that the two countries have agreed to meet in a Test match in Delhi next month.

J Y Lele, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said that Pakistan will play two Tests against India before the two countries are joined by Sri Lanka to take part in the inaugural Asian Test Championship.

Political animosity between India and Pakistan, including ongoing military exchanges over the disputed border in the northern Indian state of Kashmir, have been the main reason behind the two countries' refusal to play Test cricket. The last such series was in 1989, when India toured Pakistan.

Pakistan are due to meet India in the first Test on 28 January before travelling to either Kanpur or Madras for a second Test, scheduled to begin on 4 February. The two nations will then be joined by Sri Lanka to contest the Asian Test Championship, with the final taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

However, organisers have had to exclude Bombay as a venue because of statements by Bal Thakeray, leader of the city's right-wing Shiv Sena government, who is opposed to cricket tours between the two countries.

PAKISTAN TOUR OF INDIA: 23-25 Jan Three-day match (tba); 28-1 Feb First Test (Delhi); 4-8 Feb Second Test (Madras or Kanpur); 11-13 Feb Three- day match (tba).

ASIAN TEST CHAMPIONSHIP: 16-20 Feb India v Pakistan (Calcutta); 24-28 Feb Sri Lanka v India (Colombo); 4-8 Mar Pakistan v Sri Lanka (Lahore); 12-16 Mar Final (Dhaka).