Cricket: Fletcher calls for action over unruly crowd: Fairbrother flourishes in a hostile atmosphere as England maintain their one-day momentum

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India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137-7

England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141-4

England win by 6 wickets

ENGLAND limped home in some style here to win yesterday's fourth one-day international by six wickets, but were grateful that their match-winner Neil Fairbrother's knee problem was the only worrying injury they sustained.

It could have been much worse, as a habit Indian crowds have of offering fruit to players in the form of an aerial room service took a sinister turn. Devon Malcolm, the England fast bowler, narrowly avoided serious injury when a sharpened six-inch bolt flew past his head as he attempted to field on the square-leg boundary. The bolt was just one missile in a hail of food, plastic bottles and assorted flotsam and, not surprisingly, he failed to prevent the four.

It was only the most serious of several incidents on the day which led the England team manager, Keith Fletcher, to report the crowd's behaviour to the match referee, Cammie Smith, and prophesy that a player would soon be severely injured by a missile in India.

'The behaviour of some parts of the crowd was totally unacceptable,' he said. 'The police are there but they don't do anything. There are places you cannot ask people to field. It will not be long before someone is seriously injured in this country. They have to get their act together before the World Cup.'

JY Lele, a member of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, was at the game and was spoken to by Smith. Lele said initially: 'They do it to get on TV.' He then reasoned that the crowd were reacting to the way any agile spectator who climbed the barbed-wire fence and got on to the outfield was beaten by stewards. 'They can take beating from authority such as the police but not from volunteers. We had to tell them if you want to beat someone take them outside and do it.'

That sounds shocking but police lathi (bamboo batons) charges are the favourite method of Indian crowd control. However, bringing a sharpened steel bolt, even in a city and stadium owned and run by a steel company, is premeditated, and Lele admitted: 'It is bad behaviour. We are taking it very seriously and will take measures to prevent it happening again here or in Gwalior' - where England play on Thursday and Friday.

While other players - including a bewildered Javagal Srinath - were also on the receiving end, Malcolm is a popular target. He was nearly set alight by a firecracker. His calm reaction yesterday underlined what a rare temperament he has for a fast bowler.

It did not adversely affect his bowling; his impressive opening spell was a key factor in establishing England's control. Having won the toss, Graham Gooch - who returned to opening the batting as Alec Stewart dropped out with back spasms - then watched the covers come on and off for three and a quarter hours.

The game was cut to 28 overs each but, at the speed England bowl, the length of an innings is as flexible as an Indian airline schedule and by the time the chai-wallah arrived they were two short. In the 26 they did manage, Friday's hero Paul Jarvis, like Srinath after him, discovered one-day international glory is a fleeting thing, going for 40 in five overs.

Malcolm, after conceding nine, including an edged four, in his first over, went for eight off his next five as he relished a wicket that would not be out of place at Derby. He even spectacularly ran out Vinod Kambli with a direct hit from fine leg.

Gooch, too, excelled in the field, making one stop in the Chris Lewis class and taking an exceptionally well judged over-the- shoulder running catch in the swirling wind to dismiss Pravin Amre, who had cut loose with 19 off 12 balls.

India's 137 never looked adequate and England, despite losing three early wickets, paced themselves, easily matching India's score exactly at 14 and 21 overs.

By then Fairbrother was in full flow, despite needing a runner after two blows from the pacy Salil Ankola that burst a blood vessel on the inside of his left knee.

With Dermot Reeve - 'An ideal pair when the chips are down,' Fletcher said - he took 10 off each of the three overs before the last, and then stroked a four through the covers to bring up his 50 and win the match with two balls to spare.

England hope Fairbrother, Stewart and Mike Gatting (indisposed for much of the game) will all be fit for Thursday's fifth match when England can clinch the series.

JAMSHEDPUR SCOREBOARD

(England won toss)

INDIA

N S Sidhu c DeFreitas b Malcolm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

(47 min, 28 balls, 1 four)

M Prabhakar c Blakey b DeFreitas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

(10 min, 7 balls)

V G Kambli run out (Malcolm). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

(41 min, 37 balls, 1 four)

S R Tendulkar b Jarvis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

(42 min, 32 balls, 1 four)

* M Azharuddin c Fairbrother b Lewis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

(30 min, 22 balls, 1 four)

Kapil Dev not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

(28 min, 13 balls, 1 four)

P K Amre c Gooch b Jarvis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

(11 min, 13 balls, 3 fours)

S Ankola run out (Fairbrother-Blakey). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

(5 min, 3 balls)

] K S More not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

(4 min, 2 balls)

Extras (lb6 w3 nb1). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Total (for 7, 115 min, 26 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

Fall: 1-11 (Prabhakar), 2-46 (Sidhu), 3-51 (Kambli), 4-96 (Azharuddin), 5-99 (Tendulkar), 6-122 (Amre), 7-127 (Ankola).

Did not bat: A Kumble, J Srinath.

Bowling: DeFreitas 4-0-17-1; Malcolm 6-0-17-1 (w1); Lewis 5-0-25-1 (2-0-8-0, 2-0-13-1, 1-0-4-0); Reeve 6-0-32-0 (nb1); Jarvis 5-0-40-2 (w2) (2-0-17- 0, 3-0-23-2).

Progress: 50: 52 min, 76 balls. 100: 93 min, 129 balls.

ENGLAND

* G A Gooch c More b Kapil Dev. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

(27 min, 19 balls, 1 four)

R A Smith run out (Ankola-More). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

(50 min, 27 balls, 2 fours)

G A Hick c Azharuddin b Ankola. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

(10 min, 8 balls)

N H Fairbrother not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

(93 min, 52 balls, 4 fours)

C C Lewis lbw b Prabhakar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

(50 min, 30 balls, 2 fours)

D A Reeve not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

(31 min, 20 balls, 2 fours)

Extras (lb8 w5). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Total (for 4, 134 min, 25.4 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

Fall: 1-27 (Gooch), 2-33 (Hick), 3-43 (Smith), 4-93 (Lewis).

Did not bat: M W Gatting, R J Blakey, P A J DeFreitas, P W Jarvis, D E Malcolm.

Bowling: Kapil Dev 4-1-10-1 (w3); Prabhakar 5.4-0-34-1 (nb1) (2-0-13-0, 3.4-0-21-1); Srinath 6-0-38-0 (nb1 w1) (3-0-13-0, 3-0-25-0); Ankola 6-0-28-1 (w1); Kumble 4-0-23-0.

Progress: 50: 66 min, 69 balls. 100: 112 min, 129 balls.

Fairbrother's 50: 93 min, 52 balls, 4 fours.

Umpires: L Narasimhan and C S Sathe.

(Photograph omitted)

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