England heroics cheapened by corruption claims

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

England 446 Pakistan 74 & 147 (England win by an innings and 225 runs): Series win irrelevant as no-ball scandal engulfs Pakistan's Asif, Aamer and Butt

Yesterday at 12.36pm England won the fourth Test against Pakistan by an innings and 225 runs to complete a commendable 3-1 win in the series. Nobody cared.

The players shook hands desultorily, the spectators applauded politely but not enthusiastically. The epic events of the match, some of the type to be witnessed in a sporting arena only every thousand years or so, had been consumed by other matters.

Overnight, with Pakistan on 41 for 4 and already in a hopeless position, damning allegations had been made of sharp practice of the gravest sort. In the immediate short term, they put at risk the series of limited-overs matches that is due to take place between the sides starting next Sunday, but there are potentially much wider repercussions for a sport which has already been split asunder once by match-fixing.

The tourists stand accused of allegedly taking money for rigging certain occurrences in the match. In particular, their two excellent fast bowlers, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif, who had both illuminated the series, were alleged to have bowled deliberate no-balls at specified points in the game.

Not only that, but they were said to have supposedly been joined, perhaps helped, perhaps advised, in committing their misdemeanours by their team captain, Salman Butt. An investigation by the News of the World, which has now been taken over by the Metropolitan Police, apparently revealed that they have been in the pay of a match-fixer called Mazhar Majeed who lives in a Croydon mansion.

On Saturday night, in the wake of the newspaper story which followed a tip-off several weeks ago, Majeed was arrested. The newspaper reported that it had paid Majeed £150,000 to become part of his betting ring. When the money was handed over, Majeed demonstrated his authenticity as a fixer by saying that certain specific deliveries would be no-balls.

He thought he was impressing fellow gamblers glad to seek an illicit advantage but they were actually undercover reporters. The newspaper reported that the no-balls duly arrived – the third ball of the third over from Aamer and the sixth ball of the 10th over from Asif on Thursday and the third ball of Aamer's third over on Friday.

In the general scheme of things, a no-ball here or there in a cricket match might not amount to a hill of beans – unless the margins were particularly tight – but that is far from the point. It is simply and deliberately cheating and what it might lead to in terms of fixing the result is horrific to contemplate for anybody who watches sport and thinks it is rather fun as well as rather serious.

That is why the mood was so sepulchral at Lord's yesterday. It did not help that the claimed misdeeds had taken place in the greatest sporting arena in the world, one imbued with history and every romantic notion, misplaced or not, that ever attached itself to cricket.

After England had completed their victory, Andrew Strauss, their captain, said: "We turned up this morning knowing it was our job to get the job done and we did that pretty well but the atmosphere out there was pretty sombre and that's understandable because the game of cricket is in the headlines for not just the wrong reasons but the worst of reasons. It's been a tough day."

Butt and the tourists' venerable manager, Yawar Saeed, made a stab at fronting up. To general surprise, they conducted a press conference, albeit uninformative, lasting more than 10 minutes. Pakistan had skipped the post-match presentation, which bizarrely took place in the Long Room at Lord's rather than on the outfield.

Aamer, the tyro fast bowler, who had seemed destined for greatness after his sterling deeds and 19 wickets in the series, was made Pakistan's man of the series. Giles Clarke, the England and Wales Cricket Board's chairman, signally failed to shake his hand or look him in the eye as he handed over the trophy.

Clarke might have been feeling a deep personal slight. He has been strident in fighting Pakistan's corner in the world cricket, and has insisted that every effort be made to accommodate them since they are no longer able to play international matches at home following the murderous attack on the Sri Lankan team coach in Lahore last year.

It was Clarke who ensured that space was made in this English summer for neutral matches between Pakistan and Australia. As he put his nose in the air on greeting Aamer, it was not difficult to tell where his sympathies now lie.

Butt denied wrongdoing but he was not wholly convincing in his rebuttal. "These are just allegations," he said. "There's nothing that I have seen or has been shown on TV that involves me."

The police, however, may take a closer look at Butt's stance when Aamer bowls one of the two no-balls he is alleged to have delivered to order. Butt, at mid-off, is looking not at the batsman, but at the popping crease to see where the bowler's front foot is landing.

"I would say that every person has given 100 per cent and all the efforts he could," said Butt. "But you can't go out every time and achieve what you want. All you can do is try, and the rest, you know, is beyond your control."

Yawar is an experienced hand at managing Pakistan teams abroad, having done so more than 20 times. It was his proud boast at the start of the tour that he had always managed to miss those on which contentious issues had been raised. He was not, for instance, at the helm when the ball-tampering row was going on in England four years ago, leading to the abandonment of a Test match, or in Australia last winter when the dressing room was split, they lost all nine international matches and there were suspicions even then that some players were indulging in dark arts.

Yawar confirmed that his and Butt's hotel rooms had been searched by police the previous night and also that he had spoken to the squad that morning, which is why they did not practice.

The atmosphere, as England went to work to take the six weeks they needed, never rose above subdued. It was still difficult to take in that on Friday morning England had been 47 for 5 and staring down the barrel.

But that had been an age ago, when the game and everything in it was innocent. England had pulled themselves out of trouble thanks to a world-record Test wicket partnership of 332 between Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad, who scored centuries that were resolute and charming. They then bowled out Pakistan for 74 in their first innings and had reduced their second to tatters.

Graeme Swann bowled masterfully yesterday morning against batsmen whose minds were clearly elsewhere as their manager read the News of the World on the dressing room balcony. The tourists fell to 97 for 9 before Umar Akmal, one of those allegedly implicated in the betting ring scams, launched a counter-attack.

It mattered not. What did was what Strauss had to say so glumly as he reflected on his side's lack of excitement as wickets fell. "Maybe when a team is 600 for 2 and you take a wicket you get a similar sort of feeling," he said.

"I think we were very pleased to finish the game off and it was an outstanding turnaround from the guys but we all realise there is a greater context to this and it's a pretty sombre context, and not one we really want to be involved in."

Lord's Scoreboard

Fourth Test (Third & fourth day of five): England beat Pakistan by an innings and 225 runs.

Pakistan won toss

England First Innings

Overnight Friday: 346-7

I J L rott c Akmal b Riaz 184

383 balls 19 fours

S C J Broad lbw b Ajmal 169

297 balls 19 fours 1 six

J M Anderson c Hameed b Ajmal 6

14 balls 1 four

S T Finn not out 0

1 ball

Extras (b 4, lb 17, w 7, nb 14)42

Total (139.2 overs)446

Fall: 1-31 (Strauss), 2-39 (Cook), 3-39 (Pietersen), 4-39 (Collingwood), 5-47 (Morgan), 6-102 (Prior), 7-102 (Swann), 8-434 (Broad), 9-446 (Anderson), 10-446 (Trott).

Bowling: M Aamer 28-6-84-6 (w1, nb4) (5-2-15-0, 6-2-14-4, 4-1-8-2, 2-0-10-0, 2-0-11-0, 4-0-15-0, 5-1-11-0), M Asif 29-6-97-1 (nb2) (11-2-36-1, 4-1-7-0, 2-1-4-0, 2-0-7-0, 4-1-17-0, 3-1-12-0, 3-0-14-0), W Riaz 27.2-4-92-1 (w2, nb8) (1-0-4-0, 6-2-11-0, 1-0-5-0, 9-1-31-0, 3-1-13-0, 2-0-10-0, 5.2-0-18-1), S Ajmal 44-5-126-2 (2-0-9-0, 8-0-22-0, 8-1-23-0, 12—2—32-0, 9-2-24-0, 5-0-16-2), Y Hameed 1-1-0-0 (one spell), I Farhat 10-1-26-0 (9-1-19-0, 1-0-7-0).

Progress Third day: 400 in 126.5 overs, Lunch 445-8 (Trott 183, Anderson 6) 138.0 overs. Trott 150: 303 balls, 15 fours. Broad 150: 273 balls, 14 fours, 1 six.

Pakistan First Innings

I Farhat c Prior b Anderson 6

21 balls 1 four

Y Hameed Yasir Hameed c Swann b Broad 2

6 balls

*S Butt b Swann 26

58 balls 4 fours

M Yousuf b Broad 0

4 balls

A Ali c Cook b Swann 10

47 balls 1 four

U Akmal b Finn 6

22 balls 1 four

†K Akmal c Prior b Finn 13

21 balls 2 fours

M Amir lbw b Finn 0

2 balls

W Riaz lbw b Swann 2

12 balls

S Ajmal not out 4

1 ball 1 four

M Asif c & b Swann 0

5 balls

Extras (lb 4, nb 1)5

Total (33 overs)74

Fall: 1-9 (Hameed), 2-9 (Farhat), 3-10 (Yousuf), 4-46 (Butt), 5-53 (Ali), 6-57 (U Akmal), 7-57 (Amir), 8-70 (K Akmal), 9-74 (Riaz), 10-74 (Asif).

Bowling: J M Anderson 10-6-10-1 (nb1) (5-4-3-1, 5-2-7-0), S C J Broad 6-4-10-2 (one spell), S T Finn 9-4-38-3 (4-1-25-0, 5-3-13-3), G P Swann 8-3-12-4 (one spell).

Progress Third day: Tea 46-3 (Ali 10, Butt 26) 22.0 overs, 50 in 22.4 overs.

Second Innings (following on)

Overnight Saturday: 41-4

I Farhat c Cook b Broad 5

12 balls 1 four

Y Hameed lbw b Anderson 3

14 balls

* S Butt lbw b Swann 21

45 balls 3 fours

M Yousuf c Trott b Finn 10

19 balls 1 four

A Ali b Swann 12

17 balls

U Akmal not out 79

68 balls 11 fours 2 sixes

†K Akmal c Prior b Anderson 1

4 balls

M Aamer b Swann 0

5 balls

W Riaz c Pietersen b Swann 0

10 balls

S Ajmal run out (Broad) 8

17 balls 1 four

M Asif c Collingwood b Swann 1

11 balls

Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 3, nb 1) 7

Total (36.5 overs)147

Fall: 1-7 (Farhat), 2-9 (Hameed), 3-41 (Butt), 4-41 (Yousuf), 5-63 (Ali), 6-64 (Akmal), 7-65 (Aamer), 8-73 (Riaz), 9-97 (Ajmal), 10-147 (Asif).

Bowling: J M Anderson 13-4-35-2 (w1) (5-3-6-1, 8-1-29-1), S C J Broad 6-1-24-1 (w2) (4-1-9-1, 2-0-15-0), S T Finn 4-0-23-1 (nb1) (one spell), G P Swann 13.5-1-62-5 (3-1-6-1, 10.5-0-56-4).

Progress: Third day: Close of Play 41-4 (Ali 0) 15.3 overs. Fourth day: 50 in 17.0 overs, 100 in 29.3 overs. U Akmal 50: 40 balls, 7 fours, 1 six.

Umpires: B F Bowden (NZ) & A L Hill (NZ).

TV replay umpire: S J Davis (Aus).

Match referee: R T Robinson.

England win four-match series 3-1

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage