LAHORE - Sri Lanka’s cricket team reached Karachi Tuesday for their limited-overs series, with the government promising to give it the same level of security as a head of state.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan will host three one-day internationals on Sept. 27, 29 and Oct. 2. Those will be followed by three Twenty20s in Lahore — the city where the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by terrorists in 2009.

Before departure for Pakistan, Sri Lanka’s squad left expressed confidence in security promises by Pakistan.

The visitors were welcomed at the airport by Director International Cricket Operations, Zakir Khan, and other officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board. The visiting players were taken to a state lounge after disembarking the aircraft. Officials of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) are also accompanying the team on the tour.

Sri Lankan team was scheduled to have first practice session at Karachi’s National Stadium on Wednesday evening before taking on Pakistan in the first ODI at the same venue two days later. But the PCB said in a statement that the Sri Lankan team has opted out from the practice and also would not hold the press conference as has been earlier announced.

Sri Lanka’s 10 top players have opted out of the tour 

However, Pakistan team will hold their practice session as per the schedule on Wednesday and head coach Misbahul Haq will also attend a press conference.

Lahiru Thirimanne is leading Sri Lanka’s ODI team, whilst Dasun Shanaka will captain the side in the three match T20I series.

Captain of the Twenty20 squad, Dasun Shanaka, said he had no misgivings about returning to Pakistan after they played a Twenty20 international in Lahore in October 2017, their first since the 2009 attack.

“I have been there before,” Shanaka told reporters just before the team left Colombo where they were blessed by saffron-robed Buddhist monks.

“I am satisfied with the security arranged for us and I am happy to lead my team to Pakistan. We hope to give a good fight to our very strong hosts.”

ODI skipper Lahiru Thirimanne said he also had no concerns and they had been given assurances of a very high degree of protection in Pakistan, usually reserved for visits by heads of state.

Sri Lanka’s cricket board received the all-clear from the defence ministry last week to go ahead with the tour after establishing that there was no threat.

Major teams have avoided Pakistan since that ambush, which killed eight people and injured several players.

The current tour also looked in doubt after the Sri Lankan cricket board said it had been warned by its government about a possible security threat. But the tour finally got the go-ahead from the SLC after Pakistan’s government promised that the army would coordinate the security over the two-week long visit.

However, 10 of Sri Lanka’s top players — including ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Twenty20 skipper Lasith Malinga — have opted out of the tour due to security concerns.

Over the past four years, Pakistan has successfully hosted Zimbabwe, the West Indies, Sri Lanka , and a World XI for limited-overs matches amid intense security as it tries to win back confidence of foreign teams to restart fully fledged international cricket at home.

This Sri Lanka tour will be the first time since 2009 that a foreign team stays in Pakistan for two weeks.

ODI SQUAD: Lahiru Thirimanne (captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka, Angelo Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara

T20I SQUAD: Dasun Shanaka (capt), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Angelo Perera, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kuma.