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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 August 2006, 21:16 GMT 22:16 UK
Lengthy talks fail to save Test
Hair and Doctrove
Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove examine the ball
Cricket officials have failed to prevent the fourth Test between England and Pakistan from being abandoned.

Representatives from both countries, as well as the ICC, met at The Oval on Sunday after a major row broke out after allegations of ball-tampering.

Pakistan refused to take the field in protest at claims they had cheated.

They later changed their mind, but umpires Darrell Hair and Bill Doctrove ruled the tourists had forfeited the match and awarded the win to England.

A joint statement from the ICC, England and Wales Cricket Board and Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed the match had been abandoned with one day still to play.

The award of those penalty runs for alleged interference with the ball is under review by the ICC match referee Mike Proctor

Joint statement from ICC, ECB, PCB

"After lengthy negotiations which resulted in agreement between the teams, the match referee and both the ECB and PCB to resume the fourth Test tomorrow, it was concluded that with regret there will be no play on the fifth day," it read.

"The fourth Test has therefore been forfeited, with the match being awarded to England.

"In accordance with the laws of cricket, it was noted that the umpires had correctly deemed that Pakistan had forfeited the match and awarded the Test to England.

"The Pakistan team was aggrieved by the award of five penalty runs to England.

"The award of those penalty runs for alleged interference with the ball is under review by the ICC match referee Mike Proctor, whose report will be considered in due course.

"ICC will be issuing a separate report concerning action which may be taken in relation to the forfeiture of the match by Pakistan."

The decision means England won the four-Test series 3-0, but chief executive David Collier said the ECB expressed regret that "spectators, television viewers, and radio listeners [had been] deprived of play".

He added that there would be a 40% refund for fourth-day tickets and a full refund for those holding tickets for Monday's play.

Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan explained why the team had chosen to make their protest.

"We simply said we would stay indoors for a few minutes then go out and play," he told the BBC

The row began when Hair and Doctrove stopped play to look at the condition of the ball after 56 overs with England on 230-3.

It had begun to reverse-swing and they declared it had been altered artificially.

Pakistan felt a grave accusation had been made against the team and country, and felt deeply insulted

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan

They penalised Pakistan five runs and allowed England batsmen Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood to select another ball.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was clearly upset at the decision, but play continued without further incident until tea.

After the interval, however, the tourists failed to return to the field, and the umpires eventually removed the bails after walking onto the pitch for a second time.

Thirty minutes later, Pakistan finally made it onto the pitch but were told to head back to the dressing room because the umpires would not be coming out.

Khan said the team had been insulted by the accusation of cheating.

"The umpires have concluded the ball was deliberately scuffed and we are absolutely 100% sure that is not the case," he said.

"What we feel very resentful about is that the captain was not informed something was going wrong with the ball and told to contain it.


"Umpires are within their rights to decide without consulting but there was no consultation with anyone and no evidence seems to have been given.

"One or two of the management staff have had a look and are convinced this is a ball which has been hit about for 56 overs.

"We think it's the kind of ball you'd expect to see and there is no evidence of deliberate scuffing. We hope the ball will be showed so people can make up their own minds about it."

Play officially ended for the day at 1813 BST with England - who had already won the series - on 298-4, 33 runs behind Pakistan.

Australian Hair is no stranger to controversy, having famously no-balled Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing in the Melbourne Test of 1995.

He also reported Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi for scuffing the pitch with his boots in the second Test against England last winter.

Jonathan Agnew column
20 Aug 06 |  England


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