Test forfeited after ball tampering chaos
England 173 (Gul 4-46, Asif 4-56) and 298 for 4 (Pietersen 96, Cook 83, Strauss 54) beat Pakistan 504 (Yousuf 128, Hafeez 95, Farhat 91, Iqbal 58*, Harmison 4-125) after Pakistan forfeited the match
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How they were out
The controversial history of cricket between these two countries was given another chapter, during an extraordinary fourth day at The Oval, as the spectre of ball tampering reared its ugly head. It started with the umpires calling for a replacement ball midway through the afternoon and ended with the abandonment of the final day. What went on in between will go down in the darker side of cricket history.
The day began to unravel when the umpires called for a change of ball at the end of the 56th over, with England 230 for 3. It had started to reverse swing for Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul, but Darrell Hair spotted something he wasn't happy with and was seen pointing at the ball in conversation with Billy Doctrove. The fourth umpire, Trevor Jesty, then ran onto the field with a new box of balls which, under the Laws, the England batsmen were allowed to pick from. Play resumed until tea, but that was only the start of the drama.
Bad light had taken the players off before the scheduled interval however, Pakistan had been hurt by the accusations of cheating and wanted to make a protest about the umpires' actions. They had planned to delay the restart by a few moments, but when the umpires reached the middle and weren't followed by the Pakistan side they walked off.
Inzamam had appeared on the players' balcony, but on seeing Hair and Doctrove making an about turn headed back in the dressing room and the doors were shut behind him. Then the umpires went back onto the field, followed by Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell. Still, the Pakistan team stayed in their dressing room while Hair and Doctrove removed the bails and left the field.
The immediate thoughts were that the match might have been abandoned, the umpires taking Pakistan's stance as a refusal to take the field and therefore forfeiting the Test. However, with no information coming out of official channels it was all speculation. A series of hastily arranged meetings between board officials, including the ECB Chairman David Morgan and his PCB counterpart Shahrayar Khan, began and Pakistan officials emerged form the dressing room and gave thumbs up to a frustrated crowd.
Then came the most farcical moment. Inzamam led his team onto the field, stood for a few moments, before realising the umpires weren't going to appear. Seemingly they didn't believe the match was still in play. England's players and officials stood bemused on their balcony while everyone, including a sell-out crowd, waited for a morsel of information.
Finally, Khan made a statement on behalf of the PCB clarifying that Pakistan were ready to play and it was a problem with the umpires. "We have indicated very clearly that we can go out and play, in fact the boys came out and that we want the Test match to continue."
Both teams were informed just after six o'clock that play was abandoned for the day. Nothing came from the ICC, who are actually the body in control of the game, until a very limp statement via the ECB saying that high level discussions were taking place in a hope of securing play on the final day. That didn't happens, but the action on the field will long be forgotten when this match is recounted.
That is a great shame because, up until the start of the controversy, it had been a fascinating days play with England fighting hard to save the game with Kevin Pietersen to the fore. Reverse swing had played a major part in the removal of Alastair Cook for a fighting 83, giving Pakistan a vital lift after England had reduced the deficit into double figures. Cook and Pietersen added 103 for the fourth wicket, although Cook survived three let-offs.
Danish Kaneria suffered most of the frustration as Cook popped a catch to silly point in the first over of the day, but Doctrove turned down the appeal. Then Cook escaped again, on 40, when he was bowled off a no-ball by the legspinner. That wasn't the end of his fortune when, on 47, he pulled Mohammad Asif to square leg but Faisal Iqbal couldn't hang on. However, he survived to reach fifty off 93 balls.
Andrew Strauss started the day in fine form, driving and pull crisply in a 69-ball fifty, before being trapped on the back foot by Kaneria, although replays suggested he was outside off stump. It ended a fine series for Strauss which brought 444 runs at 63.
Pietersen entered on a king pair but he quickly imposed himself on the bowlers, although he too received a life, on 15, when Kamran Akmal couldn't gather an outside edge off Kaneria. He dominated the third-wicket stand with a 57-ball fifty, striking meaty blows off the seamers and spinners alike.
However, a desire to reach three figures brought his downfall when he bottom-edged a wide ball from Shahid Nazir and Akmal clung onto a sharp, low chance in front of first slip. Pakistan were still well on track for victory and, in normal circumstances, an absorbing contest between to closely matched teams would have filled the column inches. Now it will be consigned to a footnote in history.
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo