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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2006, 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK
Violence follows England wash-out
Fans are led away by police after violence erupts
Fans are led away by police after violence erupts
Serious crowd trouble followed the abandonment of the fifth one-day match between India and England in Guwahati.

The 20,000 sell-out crowd had waited for several hours without seeing a single ball bowled when the decision to call the game off was taken.

Some battled with the police and threw bricks onto the outfield, prompting police to fire tear gas into the crowd and at least 12 were injured.

The teams had been whisked away by an armed escort before the trouble began.

Nikul Gogoi, senior superintendent at the ground, said the police had tried to restrain themselves in controlling the situation.

"When the tear gas was fired, that was the minimum force (necessary) to disperse the mob because people had become very unruly," he told the BBC Asian Network.

Riot police were eventually called in after three officers had been hurt by flying bricks.

"Two are seriously injured, one has minor injuries. Two persons have been arrested because they pelted stones at our people and were caught red-handed," the superintendent added.

Groundstaff had done their utmost to get the game under way - the first appearance by India in Guwahati for four years - and had even brought in a helicopter and used its rotor blades to dry the pitch.

But it was all in vain as the players and umpires deemed the playing surface unfit for the match to go ahead.

Umpire Rudi Koertzen told BBC Sport: "We have to consider the safety of the players and both camps were adamant they were not happy with the run-ups and the fielding areas, particularly the slip cordon.

"That is why it had to be called off."

He said he sympathised with the crowd and understood their frustration but there was no alternative except to call the game off.

"People have been sitting here all day waiting for the game to take place. They haven't had any cricket for years so you can understand how they feel," he added.

A difficult day for umpires Arani Jayaprakash and Rudi Koertzen
A difficult day for umpires Arani Jayaprakash and Rudi Koertzen

"The crowd will be volatile, that is human nature, but I didn't feel threatened - most of the crowd was stable."

A spokesman for the Assam Cricket Association said some of the crowd had been at the ground from 5am, having travelled long distances to see the game.

"We tried our best to organise the match. We hired the helicopter - we paid 90,000 rupees [1,160] for a one-hour flight. From our organisation's side, we have done everything possible," he commented.

"I went to the players' dressing rooms, they told me 'Yes, if the umpires decide, we are ready to play'.

"We are not happy [with the decision of the umpires]. We tried our best and this could have been avoided by having the match played.

"But the crowd will get their money back because we insured the match."

If the match had gone ahead, Andrew Strauss and Virender Sehwag would have led the two teams, with skippers Andrew Flintoff and Rahul Dravid opting to take a break.

India had already clinched the series with victories in the first four games. The teams now head to Jamshedpur for the next game on Wednesday.

Interview: England's Andrew Strauss

Strauss understands fans' anger
09 Apr 06 |  England
Simon Mann's column
09 Apr 06 |  England
India grounds guide - Guwahati
11 Feb 06 |  Cricket
England in India 2006
08 Dec 05 |  Future tour dates


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