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September 20, 2010
In the aftermath of their 38-run defeat at Lord's, Andrew Strauss admitted it had been a tough decision for England to agree to play the fourth one-day international following Sunday's match-fixing allegations from Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the PCB. Strauss, who top-scored for England with 68, was involved in meetings until the early hours of Monday morning before it was decided that the series would be concluded.
"We were very absolutely outraged by the allegations yesterday," Strauss said. "We refute them completely and we were very disturbed that someone would come out with those allegations without any proof to back them up. When the allegations first surfaced there was a lot of raw emotion around and we needed to let that subside. But we didn't have a lot of time to do that. Once the emotion did subside, we as a group of players realised that the best option available to us was to play the game.
"We went into this game fully determined to play as well as we could," he added. "I think both sides understood their responsibilities to put on a good, clean game of cricket today."
That England lost the match to take the series to a decider at the Rose Bowl didn't help Strauss's mood, but the issues stemming from the last 24 hours go far beyond the result of a cricket match. Before play Jonathan Trott and Wahab Riaz faced off in the Nursery Ground nets, a sign of the growing tension between the sides, but Strauss praised his side for the way the professional way they went about the match.
"It was an isolated incident," Strauss said. "It wasn't an ideal start to the day from either side's point of view. But the incident has been dealt with - and on the back of it, the players from both sides reacted very well. There was some chat, but I wasn't there, so it's hard for me to give you a ball-by-ball blow.
"I've got to give a lot of credit to my players for the professional manner they went about their business, and ultimately I'm very proud of them from that point of view," he added. "I've got to give a lot of credit to the players from both sides for doing that. It's just a fact of life, with a lot of emotion flying around things can get out of hand - and I'm very proud of the fact that didn't happen."
Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, also played down the incident. "I don't know exactly what was said but there was a little confrontation between the two players. It was sorted before the game started. We started in a pleasant way and ended in a pleasant way."
However, there was no hiding from how seriously England are taking the allegations that have been thrown their way by Butt. It was the fact they came from somebody so high up in world cricket that proved most shocking for Strauss and his players and he confirmed legal action was being explored.
"It was the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board coming out with these allegations and we as a group of players felt strongly that we should, given that they were directed to us, that we should respond. We are going to explore every avenue available to us to make sure our names aren't sullied in this manner."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at CricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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