Broad faces referee's probe after throwing ball at Zulqarnain

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The Independent Online

Stuart Broad left himself open to disciplinary action with a display of petulance at Edgbaston yesterday as England's hopes of polishing off Pakistan with an innings victory were well and truly dashed.

Broad, the fast bowler with a short fuse, has strayed close to the line on several occasions during an international career which began in 2006, and been given a couple of friendly warnings by match officials.

Yesterday, though, the 24-year-old Nottinghamshire player let his frustrations get the better of him by hitting Pakistan batsman Zulqarnain Haider with a throw which he might argue was meant to go to wicketkeeper Matt Prior but instead struck his debut-making opponent on the shoulder.

Broad was last night charged with "throwing the ball inappropriately" by senior International Cricket Council referee Ranjan Madugalle and later appeared before the Sri Lankan official who was able to consider punishments ranging from a 50 per cent match fee fine up to a one game suspension.

Broad's throw, which came at the end of an over and after he had fielded the ball off his own bowling, was not particularly hard. But Zulqarnain had stayed in his crease and understandably looked less than impressed.

Broad did not help himself, either, by offering only the briefest of apologies to Pakistan's keeper-batsman, who was in the early stages of what was to become a heroic innings. The bowler waved a hand in Zulqarnain's direction as he stomped away to his fielding position but was spoken to by bowler's end umpire Marais Erasmus. Then both Erasmus and the other official, Steve Davis, talked to England captain Andrew Strauss before play continued.

Broad's England and Notts team-mate Graeme Swann insisted: "He apologised straight away and I'm sure there was no malice behind it – it was just a sign of the frustration going on."

Pakistan captain Salman Butt also used the word "frustration" but, like many people at the ground, was less charitable about Broad's actions. "It's not good to see people throwing the ball intentionally at others and not even excusing [apologising] properly.

"Cricket is a gentleman's game but I think they got frustrated. The throw was just one thing. I think there were plenty of words as well and also kicking the bowling marks."

Among those watching as England finally ran into to some serious Pakistani resistance was Broad's father, Chris -– the former Test batsman and now himself an ICC referee. It was only a couple of months ago that Broad Snr credited his son with being able to get reasonably close to the disciplinary line without straying over it. He may now have to revise his opinion.

Although the Broad incident did not take the shine off Zulqarnain's innings or Swann's Test-best six-wicket haul it still turned into one of the talking points when all comment should have been about terrific batting and a magical delivery.

"Zulqarnanin showed great ability under pressure, and he has been under stress emotionally for quite a few days," said Butt of a young player whose father was in a coma until recently after contracting hepatitis C. "I think it is remarkable the way he played. He has shown us all that if you are willing to stay there at the crease and take the pain then you surely gain."

With a lead of 112 runs, and one wicket in hand, going into the fourth day, Pakistan believe they have a chance to turn the tables on England with one of the most amazing Test fightbacks of all time. "This is the kind of total teams can get out for," said Butt.

Swann, though, is sure England will prevail – and confident his six-wicket contribution won't be in vain. "I don't think it was any surprise the way they batted because it was going to happen at some stage," said the spinner, whose third ball of the Test pitched outside Imran Farhat's leg stump and then hit off. "You try to put the ball in the right pace but you don't expect them to spin as viciously as that. It was a bit of a one off.

"The pitch was slow, our standards dipped a bit with a couple of dropped catches but Pakistan should get the plaudits because they applied themselves very well."

The former Australia coach John Buchanan has been appointed as a consultant by England to help Strauss's team win the Ashes in Australia for the first time in 24 years. Buchanan, 57, coached his country to three successful Ashes campaigns from 2001 to 2006-07, losing once in 2005. He also aided the Australians in two triumphant World Cups in 2003 and 2007.

England have not won a Test series in Australia since Mike Gatting led them to that honour in 1986-87. The first Test starts in Brisbane on 25 November.

Buchanan will assist the England team director Andy Flower in his plans for the series. He will add to the Australian input already available to England, following the appointment earlier this year of David Saker as their bowling coach.

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