Razzaq puts on-field scrap beyond England’s reach

Pakistan 265-7 England 227

An international one-day match took place yesterday at the greatest cricket ground in the world. It was watched on a gorgeous late summer's day by 20,000 people and none of them, not a single one, could be sure that what they were watching was pure and honest.

So contentious was the context in which the fourth match of the NatWest Series at Lord's was played that maybe not even the teams, England and Pakistan, were certain any longer. It appeared to be a rousing contest between bat and ball and there was skilful bowling and rumbustious striking on both sides but the claims, counter-claims and general air of distrust which now pervades this tour in particular and the game in general have reached desperate levels.

Pakistan won by 38 runs to level the series at 2-2 in what, in ordinary circumstances, would be hailed as a resplendent performance. But these circumstances have long ceased to be normal. The tourists reached 265 for 7, a daunting total under lights, after Abdul Razzaq, a power hitter of yore, rolled back the years to strike 40 runs from his last 10 balls.

England made an exciting start but then faltered badly as the ball began swinging alarmingly and were all out for 227 in the 47th over, their last five going down in 30 balls. Umar Gul, the destroyer at The Oval on Friday, and Shoaib Akhtar were both far too hot to handle, Saeed Ajmal, the doosra exponent, was not far behind and between them they did for England. They had points to prove far beyond the confines of a single contest.

All agree that tomorrow's fifth and final match of a long, increasingly bleak season cannot come too soon because everybody has had enough. That there is acrimony between the sides was made perfectly plain before the start of the match yesterday when in front of thousands of spectators watching the pre-match practice two players were involved in a scuffle.

Whatever was said and whoever said what before Jonathan Trott of England and Wahab Riaz of Pakistan began their altercation, it reflected badly on both men. The atmosphere was already highly charged after the England and Wales Cricket Board came as close as it has ever done to cancelling a tour, given the inflammatory comments of the chairman of the PCB, Ijaz Butt. Without a scintilla of evidence he effectively accused England of throwing the third ODI at The Oval last Friday.

Nonsense, of course, as have been many of the speculative allegations made against Pakistan almost every day since the notorious fourth Test at Lord's when two of their bowlers were alleged to have bowled deliberate no-balls. Since then, Pakistan have been feeling increasingly persecuted. For reasons of doing their best by the public who had bought tickets, the ECB decided to proceed with the remaining two matches.

Pakistan's innings was in trouble for much of its 50 overs during which they barely went along at more than four runs an over. The opener Mohammad Hafeez provided the ballast in the early part but the middle section was throttled by a customarily smart spell from Graeme Swann. He took a wicket in his first over and until his final ball was struck for six he was never mastered.

After a brief flurry by Shahid Afridi, the innings was transformed in the last two overs. Razzaq had hit four from his first 10 balls and looked disinterested. He then launched into one of his old-time unfettered assaults. The last 10 balls he faced, from Jimmy Anderson and Tim Bresnan, brought him 40 runs including eight fours and a six. Neither bowler had a clue what to do as length balls were plundered and intended yorkers simply disappeared into the blue yonder.

England made a blistering start through Andrew Strauss and Steve Davies, who already fit together like an old married couple. When Davies was out to the last ball of the 20th over, chopping on Saeed Ajmal, the first-wicket partnership had put on 113. Strauss made his third half-century of the series but was dismissed carelessly and the rate went up and up. So, shortly, was the game.

Lord's scoreboard

ENGLAND v PAKISTAN

Fourth ODI. Pakistan beat England by 38 runs. Score in five-match series 2-2

Pakistan won toss

PAKISTAN

......... Runs......... 6s......... 4s......... Bls

†K Akmal c Strauss b Broad......... 28......... 1......... 4......... 32

M Hafeez c Trott b Swann......... 64......... 1......... 5......... 100

A Shafiq b Swann......... 11......... 0......... 1......... 18

M Yousuf c Davies b Swann......... 3......... 0......... 0......... 6

F Alam b Swann......... 29......... 0......... 1......... 52

U Akmal c Davies b Broad......... 21......... 0......... 1......... 40

*S S M K Afridi c Strauss b Bresnan......... 37......... 2......... 3......... 22

A Razzaq not out......... 44......... 1......... 8......... 20

U Gul not out......... 5......... 0......... 0......... 10

Extras (lb 19, w 4)......... 23

Total (7 wkts, 50 overs)......... 265

Fall: 1-62, 2-86, 3-94, 4-137, 5-155, 6-209, 7-210.

Did not bat: S Akhtar, S Ajmal.

Bowling: T T Bresnan 10-0-62-1, J M Anderson 10-1-54-0, S C J Broad 10-0-44-2, M H Yardy 7-0-39-0, G P Swann 10-0-37-4, P D Collingwood 3-0-10-0.

ENGLAND

......... Runs......... 6s......... 4s......... Bls

*A J Strauss c Akmal b Akhtar......... 68......... 0......... 8......... 72

†S M Davies b Ajmal......... 49......... 0......... 7......... 61

I J L Trott b Afridi......... 4......... 0......... 0......... 16

I R Bell c sub b Ajmal......... 27......... 0......... 2......... 41

P D Collingwood b Gul......... 4......... 0......... 0......... 18

E J G Morgan c Yousuf b Akhtar......... 28......... 0......... 2......... 35

M H Yardy b Akhtar......... 9......... 0......... 0......... 12

T T Bresnan b Gul......... 1......... 0......... 0......... 4

G P Swann b Gul......... 12......... 0......... 1......... 9

S C J Broad b Gul......... 2......... 0......... 0......... 8

J M Anderson not out......... 2......... 0......... 0......... 3

Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 14, nb 2)......... 21

Total (46.1 overs)......... 227

Fall: 1-113, 2-125, 3-127, 4-149, 5-171, 6-197, 7-205, 8-211, 9-224, 10-227.

Bowling: S Akhtar 10-0-59-3, A Razzaq 7-0-42-0, U Gul 8.1-0-32-4, M Hafeez 7-0-27-0, S Ajmal 7-0-31-2, S S M K Afridi 7-0-31-1.

Umpires: B R Doctrove (WI) & R A Kettleborough.

TV replay umpire : R K Illingworth.

Match referee: J J Crowe (NZ).

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