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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 August 2006, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Day four: How the controversy unfolded

FOURTH TEST, THE OVAL, DAY FOUR:
England 173 and 298-4 v Pakistan 504

Pakistan forfeit match

Pakistan forfeited the fourth Test at the Oval against England after a ball-tampering row brought an early end to day four's action.

Pakistan's initial refusal to come out after tea triggered a chaotic two hours which ended with the day's play being abandoned without another ball being bowled.

After lengthy negotiations, a statement was issued on behalf of the International Cricket Council, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Pakistan Cricket Board confirming that there would be no more play and Pakistan had forfeited the match.

Read below how the drama unfolded in real time - or click on the links to go to the two key moments:


LATEST UPDATES All times BST

By Tom Fordyce

2235: A statement is issued on behalf of the ICC, the ECB and the Pakistan Cricket Board confirming that Pakistan have forfeited the match and it is awarded to England who win the series 3-0.

ECB chief executive, David Collier says that all spectators who purchased tickets for day four (Sunday) will be eligible for a 40% refund and a full refund will be paid to all spectators who purchased tickets for day five.

1850: All the England players have now left the ground - except, that is, for skipper Strauss. He's in a meeting in one of the Oval's committee rooms, once again with stone-faced stewards at the door.

"A friend and I are considering a jaunt down to the Oval from York on Monday. We have tickets but are concerned about wasting 100 on a train fare. What should we do?"
Thomas Beecham, via email

1828: Whispers coming from the rooms that matter say that the umpires believe that Pakistan forfeited the match by not coming out. Those are only whispers, though. At this point, no-one knows whether there'll be play on Monday or not.

1816: The covers are now on. And the match could still be on too - until Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove come out of their room and spill the beans, we don't know whether they've abandoned the game or not.

1811: Announcement over the public address system: there will be no more play today.

"Nothing has been resolved in the meeting - the umpires and match referee are still in there." Simon Mann, Test Match Special

1807: Those same fans are amusing themselves by constructing the longest pint-pot snake of the summer so far. It's a monster - at least three anacondas in length.

1804: The International Cricket Council say that they will not be making any statements for the time being. What's the hurry, boys? There's only 12,000 fans sitting there wanting to know what's going on.

1801: Rumours circulate that there will definitely be no more play tonight. Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal can been seen taking off his inner gloves; the other players are on the balcony looking depressed.

1756: It's now been an hour and a quarter since play was meant to resume after tea.

1752: Still no official announcement. Yellow-jacketing stewards are ringing the outfield. The covers are still off, if anyone out there fancies a game.

1749: Complete confusion in the crowd. The spectators haven't been told a thing, as the following text message will illustrate:

"What's going on? Have we won?" Jamie, England fan at The Oval

1745: It's now getting pretty dark at The Oval too. If anyone does come out - which looks increasingly unlikely - play could get suspended for bad light without a ball being bowled. It's now farce o'clock, no?

1742: "We feel that there is no evidence whatsoever of deliberate scuffing of the ball. Once you accuse a team of deliberately tampering with the ball, it becomes a very big deal." Shaharyar Khan, PCB chairman

1741: More from Khan - "We felt we should make a protest, but we simply said that we would stay inside for a few minutes, and go out when the protest had been registered."

1739: Quote from PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan: "We are still hopeful that the match can start again."

1736: Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon confirms that the umpires are refusing to come out. Match referee Mike Procter is apparently in the umpires' room, deep in talks with Hair and Doctrove.

1733: "Darrell Hair is refusing to budge. That's the impasse." Jonathan Agnew, Test Match Special

1730: Apparently a deal had been brokered between the two teams, but no-one thought to involve the umpires. The umpires apparently took the Pakistan no-show to mean that the match had been conceded.

"There are four stewards standing outside the umpire's dressing-room, and they're all big men." Simon Mann, Test Match Special

1728: Who'll be next to refuse to carry on? Maybe I'll sack this live report off too - throw my keyboard down and return to the BBC dressing-room. Only joking - the drama is incredible. I wouldn't do that to you.

1727: They're going back in! With no sign of the umpires, the Pakistan team are returning to the pavillion. Rumours are flying around that Darrell Hair is now refusing to come out.

"What a mess! What a mess!" Jonathan Agnew, Test Match Special

1726: Kevin Pietersen is taking photos of it all with his digital camera while the boos continue. At least someone's enjoying themselves.

1724: Here come the Pakistan team! They're trudging down the pavillion steps to a deafening chorus of boos from the Oval crowd. But where are the umpires?

1722: "A deal's been done - play is going to resume." Simon Mann, Test Match Special

1719: The covers are coming off. It looks like play could actually continue at some point. Still no official announcement about what's going on.

1718: Movement on the Pakistan balcony - there's a blazered official waving towards the pitch, as if to indicate that they might be coming back out. Has Morgan brokered some sort of deal here?

1716: Morgan is now sitting outside the Pakistan dressing-room, looking completely crestfallen. Pakistan team manager Zaheer Abbas is with him.

1712: There is now a huge crowd of photographers gathered on the outfield in front of the pavillion, long lenses trained on the Pakistan dressing-room. When umpires Hair and Doctrove started looking at the ball just after 1430 BST, who would have guessed this would be the result?

1711: Morgan goes into the Pakistan dressing-room.

1707: I don't think Pakistan are going to return. Akmal goes back into the dressing-room, Shoaib Akhtar leaves it. The door shuts again. David Morgan, chairman of the English Cricket Board, is in deep discussion with Shaharyar Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board. You've never seen two more serious-looking men.

1704: The crowd are utterly baffled. There's been no official announcement whatsoever, and there's a growing sense of disbelief at the ground.

1702: There is chaos at The Oval. Nobody knows what has happened. Rumours are flying around. Has the match been awarded to England because Pakistan are refusing to come out? The England players are in their training kit, standing around on their balcony looking serious.

1659: The door of the Pakistan dressing-room remains shut. What's going on? You fear that this incident is going to overshadow the entire series unless something happens soon.

1657: The England players are walking off again, as are the umpires. The umpires have taken the bails with them. Could this be the end of the match?

1654: The umpires have walked to the wicket and so have the England batsmen. But still no Pakistan team. In fact, Kamran Akmal is sitting on the balcony reading a newspaper. This one could run and run.

1651: The Pakistan dressing-room door remains resolutely shut. You can see urgent discussions going on in the match referee's office, but there's still no sign of the players.

1645: Excitement grows at the ground as the impasse develops. The minutes are ticking by, and Pakistan aren't budging from their dressing-room. The crowd have started to slow-handclap.

1643: Hold on - something's going on here. The umpires are out, the England batsmen are ready, and there's no sign of the Pakistan team. Are they going to come out?

1632: News from the middle: play will re-start at 1640 BST. The covers are off and the sky above a fraction lighter.

1620: Gloominess prevails at the wicket, and there's no re-start yet. There's dampness in the air, and it's dark dampness. The umpires are out there but the covers are on.

1545: BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY. TEA BEING TAKEN
Time for a breather - it's a touch gloomier, and that's all these umpires need. We're off, and it's time for a sandwich.

1538: Two maidens in a row, and the pace has dropped still further. England will probably be alright with that - they're just 37 runs shy of making Pakistan bat again. Kaneria changes ends, maybe hoping for some drift in to the right-handers via the stiffening breeeze.

1532: Nazir continues and Bell drives square for another single to move on to nine. Tea approaches, and large chunks of the crowd have wandered off to the bars for an early thirst-quencher.

1524: Right - it might not be what the crowd wanted, but it's now the Bell and Collingwood show. And that means pushed singles and flicked twos, rather than the demolition derby they were enjoying earlier. Colly's on 21, Bell on three, and it's all gone quiet again.

1519: The crowd has been stunned into silence by Pietersen's dismissal. It was a great catch by Akmal, although it didn't quite make up for the easy chance he dropped when Pietersen had made only 15.

1515: WICKET Pietersen caught Akmal bowled Nazir 96
Calamity for England, joy unconfined for Pakistan. Pietersen sees a wide one from Nazir, slashes at it and watches aghast as Akmal takes a fine one-handed diving catch behind the stumps. He's missed out on his century, and England's chances of saving this Test have just been dealt a hammer blow.

1513: Shahid Nazir comes on as Inzi attempts to tame the KP tiger. The crowd fall silent - the field is up tight, and the chance is there...

1509: England are on the attack. KP thrashes Kaneria high over midwicket for six and then does the same a few balls later off Hafeez. He's raced to 96, and the crowd are loving it. England are now just 54 runs behind. Pietersen takes a few deep breaths, readying himself for another onslaught.

1502: Asif has replaced Gul. Read into that what you will. Collingwood, possibly wearing Cook's lucky box, jabs down late on an inswinger and watches in horror as the ball bounces down behind him and misses the stumps by a bail's thickness.

1452: Pietersen plays a lovely late cut off Kaneria to move to 80, and the drinks come on. Behind the scenes, the tampering row is only just beginning...

1445: Up in the match referee's office, Mike Procter is frantically leafing through what looks like a rule-book. Woolmer has now marched off, and is back on the Pakistan dressing-room balcony, scratching another ball while talking animatedly with bowling coach Waqar Younis.

1439: It's all booting off. Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer has marched straight into the match referee's office, and he didn't look happy. Good luck Mike Procter...

Out on the pitch, Pietersen cracks the new 'old' ball off the back foot for four to move on to 73.

1434: Inzi's not happy about this - the umpires have picked up the ball and are examining it closely. They call Trevor Jesty on with the box of spare balls, and we could have a diplomatic incident here. They're changing the ball, and that can mean only one thing - the umpires think the Pakistan team have tampered with the ball.

Lordy - Inzamam's furious. To him this is tantamount to being called a cheat. A five-run penalty has been given against Pakistan, and this one's going to run and run.

1430: Gul's getting a bit of reverse swing here. Collingwood pushes him for two into the off-side.

1426: Collingwood plunges forward to Kaneria and gets a big inside edge onto his pad - but the ball flies wide of Faisal Iqbal at short square leg. Iqbal turns up the volume on the chat.

1420: Pietersen flays Kaneria through cover for four as the leggie finally tires of his leg-stump line. There's a heavy burden on his shoulders now - and you can bet that he fancies it.

1414: WICKET Cook lbw bowled Gul 83
Cook's luck runs out at last as Gul's inswinging yorker traps him plumb in front. He looks absolutely gutted. That's a big blow for England - that partnership was looking tasty. In comes Collingwood.

1412: Cook chops Gul down to the deep point boundary to bring up the 100 partnership in just 93 minutes.

1409: Kaneria continues to bowl into the rough outside Pietersen's leg stump, and Pietersen continues to kick them away. 12 balls in a row now that he's failed to score from. Will the frustration tip him over the edge?

1404: Cook now turns on his own impression of Pietersen, taking 10 off Gul's over. Cook being Cook, four of the runs come from an edge through fourth slip and two from a mis-timed pull to square leg. He then drives beautifully through extra cover to move to 79. Should he get to his century, do you think the Pakistani players will applaud him?

1355: Pietersen plays a remarkably watchful over to Kaneria, padding up three times and not attempting a single attacking shot. It's a flawless impression of his batting partner.

1350: Pietersen goes to his half-century with an easy two. He then flays Gul over midwicket for another four. He's now only 10 shy of Cook's total of 67, despite having been at the crease for half as many deliveries.

1346: Kaneria opens the bowling after the break, and Pietersen manages to flick him away for four. A nice start for England on this grey and anxious afternoon.

1340: The Pakistan team get busy with a three-minute huddle as they await the arrival of Smasher Pietersen and Scratchy Cook.

LUNCH

1300: Hafeez comes on for an over of off-spin before lunch, and almost strikes straight away - Pietersen edges one onto his pad and just past short square leg. He's got 44 runs off just 48 balls, while Cook is on 67 from 127 deliveries. England will probably be happy with that morning, lucky though they were. Will their jamminess survive the lunch break?

1253: Can England hang on til lunch? Cook continues to plunge his pad at everything Kaneria bowls, while KP eyes the long-off boundary and licks his lips.

1248: Pietersen leans back and cracks Kaneria square for four - his best shot of the day. Danish then drops short again and Pietersen repeats the trick. Big cheers from the Oval crowd. Pietersen laps it up - you can almost see his chest inflating with happy pride.

1241: KP charges down the wicket at Kaneria and hoists him over mid-off. The ball just about reaches the boundary - not a great shot, but classic Pietersen. England might be 164 runs behind, but don't expect him to play a watchful four-hour 50.

1234: Pietersen must have sipped from Cook's cup - he edges Kaneria straight into Akmal's gloves, only for the hapless stumper to spill it. Kaneria looks absolutely staggered.

1229: Nazir comes on for Asif, and induces an inside edge from Pietersen that flashes past the stumps before racing down to long leg for four. Kaneria attempts to cut the ball off with block tackle but instead boots it over the ropes with the finesse of Jack Charlton.

1225: Time for a drinks break. Cook takes a swig of his patented Lucky Juice, probably washing down a fortune cookie as he does so.

1217: Asif drops two balls short to BLM, who pulls both unconvincingly for four. Cook then drives uppishly past Inzamam's left hand and gets two more. Somehow he's reached 62 not out.

1207: Cook is now officially Britain's Luckiest Man. He mis-times a pull straight to Motormouth Iqbal at square leg, only for Faisal to drop a chance so simple you would have backed your mum to pouch it. While talking to your sister on the phone. Bowler Asif can't quite believe it. He can't believe it even more when Cook flips him off his pads for four, and goes to the scratchiest half-century of the summer so far.

1202: In comes Kevin Pietersen, on a king pair after his golden duck in the first innings. Kaneria snaps one into his front pad, and Faisal Iqbal starts chirping. There's a Kaneria at one end and a canary at the other. Will Pietersen rise to it?

1155: WICKET - Strauss lbw bowled Kaneria 54
The England skipper goes, and it was only a matter of time. Kaneria turns one a mile out of the rough outside Strauss's off-stump, the ball hits him on the back foot and Doctrove raises the finger. It was actually a marginal decision - the ball looked to have turned too much, but the Law of Doctrove comes into play - if it looks out, it probably isn't, and if it doesn't look out, it probably is.

1150: Strauss must be regretting that single. He endures his own leg-spin horror-show, playing and missing at two and then being beaten all ends up by Kaneria's googly.

1147: Strauss, loving the fact that he's at the other end to the Danish Danger, goes to his 50 with a dashing cut off Asif for four. A clip for two off his legs brings up the century partnership, and he then pushes a single into the leg side to get his junior partner away from the hellish torture.

1143: Survive he does, by a flea's whisker. One ball spins viciously out of the rough and thuds into his box, another fizzes into the blockhole and another just misses off-stump. Palms remain sweaty.

1137:Strauss cuts Gul for four, and then pushes him for two more. Bad news for Cook - he'll be facing Danish again. The odds of him lasting an entire over can't be much better than 50-50.

1130: There we go - Kaneria clean bowls Cook, and it's a no ball. Unbelievable, as Alan Hansen might say. Cook is playing the leggie with the ease of a blind man staggering through a cacti maze.

1123: The only way Cook could look less happy against Kaneria would be if the demon spinner walked down the pitch after every delivery and slapped him in the face with a wet kipper. He just can't pick him, and responds by thrusting his pad out blindly at every delivery.

1115: Pakistan open up with Danish Kaneria, a slip and a man in front of the bat on either side. The fourth ball flies off Cook's front pad and bat straight to silly point, there's a huge appeal... and umpire Billy Doctrove says not out. Gulp.

1105: The covers are off, and the heavy roller is out. (NB: this is not another reference to the incident at 1052 BST)

1052: Movement on the England balcony - Duncan Fletcher is eating a sandwich. He is taking elephant-sized bites and chewing with his mouth open. It's a far from pleasant sight.

1045: Unusual optimism from umpire Darrell Hair - he's says we're going to start at 1115 BST. Still looks a bit grey out there, to be honest. After getting a right soaking on the way in this morning, I was convinced we'd have a feet-up morning of reading the Sunday papers - but Darrell knows different.

1032: The pitch is covered and umbrellas are up, so there seems little prospect of a prompt start at the moment. But we'll keep you posted.

SEE ALSO
Lengthy talks fail to save Test
20 Aug 06 |  The Ashes
Test abandoned after ball dispute
20 Aug 06 |  The Ashes
Fourth Test: day two as it happened
18 Aug 06 |  The Ashes
Fourth Test: Day one as it happened
17 Aug 06 |  The Ashes


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