Australia 'did not suspect Pakistan'

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The Independent Online

Australian cricketers Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey insist they did not suspect anything untoward in the Sydney Test against Pakistan in January, despite allegations which suggest the match may have been fixed.

A sting by the News of the World involving player agent Mazhar Majeed revealed spot fixing in the England-Pakistan Test series, where Majeed allegedly proved his credentials to potential investors by revealing the exact times certain no-balls would be delivered by Pakistan bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif.

In the same report, Majeed also boasted of his involvement in the Sydney Test result, reportedly saying Australia's miraculous win netted one betting syndicate £830,000.

The wildly-fluctuating nature of that match raised suspicions of match fixing, especially when four dropped catches by Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal allowed Australia to set the tourists 176 for victory, a total which they never looked like making after some ill-disciplined batting.

But Hussey, who made what proved a match-winning 134, said despite the multiple chances dropped by Kamran, he didn't sense that any of the Pakistani players had ulterior motives.

"It all happens in a split second, the catches off me in particular were all up to the stumps," said Hussey. "With those sort of catches, they either go in or they don't, I don't think you can try and drop those.

"I didn't think that there was anything untoward going on.

"They were certainly going very hard to get the wickets out there, they were going hard at me and they were certainly going very hard at Peter Siddle as well."

Ponting, speaking on a Melbourne radio station, agreed that Australia felt they had won the match fair and square.

"Certainly not through the middle of that game was there any thought at all. I guess we would just like to think that we totally outplayed them for the last three or four days of that Test match," he said.