Some time over the past decade, in a way both subtle and inevitable, Pakistani and Sri Lankan cricket embraced the familiarity, intimacy and resignation of an arranged marriage. For most of the outside world, their relationship is probably defined by the 2009 terrorist attack.*** Yet perhaps the greater truth has been what has happened since. Since 2011, what used to be a biennial cycle of Test tours has become an annual one for the two sides. Moreover, in the past ten years, Sri Lanka have been Pakistan’s most common opponent in Tests and ODIs, and the T20s they’ll play soon will give Sri Lanka the clean sweep as Pakistan’s most regular opponents.MAHELA AND PAKS The teams have more in common than you think, and that includes friendships off the pitch © AFPThe two countries have quite a few things in common, particularly a disdain – both politically and in cricketing terms – for India. Indeed, one of the reasons that Sri Lanka’s cricket fraternity and society at large have been so forthcoming towards Pakistan is because (according to several of them) they know the experience of cricket isolation caused by a state of war. The cricketing culture in both countries is marked by a high tolerance for the unusual, and each of bowling’s latest innovations/sins frequently involves their players.