Australia happy on security despite bottle-throwing

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The Independent Online

Cricket Australia have confirmed that plastic bottles were thrown at players from the crowd following the conclusion of Monday's first Twenty20 against Pakistan at Edgbaston, but remain confident of the security measures in place.

According to a CA spokesman an Australia player needed to fend away one of the bottles to prevent a team-mate from being hit. The post-match on-field interviews were then moved 30 metres away from the perimeter of the ground.

The unfortunate incident came after the Pakistan crowd of around 13,000 supporters celebrated their side's 23-run win to end a 12-match losing sequence in all formats of the game against Australia.

Contrary to some reports, the Australia captain Michael Clarke did not make an official complaint to match officials or security after the match with CA confident of security, which is being managed by the England and Wales Cricket Board, ahead of the second and final Twenty20 international at the same venue that was taking place yesterday afternoon.

"Yes, some plastic bottles were thrown at the end of the game. Yes, one of them nearly hit an Australia player and another player stopped a bottle from hitting another player with his hand," a CA spokesman said.

"That is why we conducted the post-match host broadcaster's interviews in the outfield. We have a co-operative and collaborative relationship with the ECB security consultant, Reg Dickason, who worked for Cricket Australia for a number of years.

"Naturally we will continue to work with him and we have every confidence in him and the local security agencies ahead of tonight's match."

Pakistan are playing the series against Australia on neutral ground in England due to the recent security problems that have dogged their home country.

No international cricket team has toured Pakistan since the Sri Lanka team bus was ambushed in a gun attack before a Test match in Lahore in March 2009, when the driver was shot dead. They have since "hosted" Australia, New Zealand and England at neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates.

Following last night's second Twenty20 international Pakistan will play Australia in a two-Test series starting at Lord's next week. The second Test will be played at Headingley from 21 July.

An ECB spokesman said changes were planned for conducting the on-field interviews ahead of last night's match, but insisted that the incident would not detract from what was otherwise a good-natured atmosphere.

"It was a very healthy crowd of around 13,000 people who were predominantly very well behaved," he said. "They were lively and made a noisy atmosphere but apart from the unfortunate incident they were well behaved and it is a shame to detract from that. There are a couple of operational issues to change regarding the player interviews after the game and we will work on that."

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