England has won the fourth and final Test Match after the ICC has decided to abandon the Test Match and award the homeside a win due to Pakistan’s refusal to take the field in the final session. The fourth day’s play of this Test Match at the Brit Oval would go down in the history books as one of the most controversial ever in the history of Test Cricket. Pakistan team was accused indirectly of ball tampering by Umpire Darrell Hair during the post lunch session which had triggered off into a huge row holding up play for more than one and a half hours after the Tea Break. Pakistan cricket team which was aggrieved, hurt and insulted decided to close the door of their dressing room and refused to come out on the field after the resumption of play. In fact, the entire last session was abandoned with all the people in the stadium left to speculating on what would happen next. The ICC and the two Boards of England and Pakistan sat down in a meeting later to decide to call off the Test Match awarding England a win as Pakistan had forfeited it according to the rules.
Just after the Tea Break had got over, the two Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove walked into the centre and the two English batsmen – Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood too walked in but the fielding team was not there at all. The two Umpires had taken the bails off which means that the Test Match was over for them with Pakistan forfeiting the match. However with the presence of the higher authorities of both Pakistan and England Cricket, the Pakistani players finally got onto the ground amidst the crowd booing but this time the Umpires did not bother to come down. According to the PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Khan who was interviewed by Sky Sports made it clear that it was not just the Pakistan Cricket Team but the entire Pakistan nation that has been hurt after being tainted as cheats. Mr.Khan also stated that his team was willing to play and that they had gone onto the field but it was the Umpires who were stubborn and did not agree for the match to continue. In the end an announcement was made that there would be no play for the day. It was mutually agreed by all the parties that the status of this Test Match would be discussed in the meeting of the ICC Officials along with the two Boards and the team management of either side.
Umpire Darrell Hair who is popular because of his on field controversies like the infamous Muralitharan chucking episode was the man who had the guts to pinpoint that the ball’s natural condition was altered by the Pakistan team. It was the end of the 56th over, Hair had gone towards his partner Billy Doctrove to show what looked like ‘deliberate scuffing’ on one side of the ball. The fourth umpire was called onto the ground to get a box of six balls for the two batsmen then Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood to select. According to the law, those six balls have to be of the same brand ranging from old to semi new to brand new and it’s the choice of the batsmen and he can select any one of them. Not only that, Darrell Hair had gone on to signal five penalty runs to the English total. Play continued though till bad light had forced the players for an early Tea Break with England in trouble at 298 for 4. That was also the end of today’s play with Inzy and his boys deciding to stage their protest. England trail by 33 runs and it would still be a tough task for them to save this match. Of course the weather will do its bit, but for even that to happen, the outcome of the meeting between the concerned authorities tonight is crucial on whether this Test match will continue tomorrow or not.
Earlier in the day, England resumed its fight at an overnight total of 78 for 1. Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook put on 107 runs for the 2nd wicket before Strauss was given out lbw by Billy Doctrove although the left hander was struck outside the line of the offstump by a big leg break from Danish Kaneria. Strauss had made a delightful 54 which contained 9 hits to the fence. Pakistan weren’t allowed to take their next wicket quickly as Cook and Pietersen got into a terrific partnership which took England safely at lunch on 183 for 2. They brought the hundred runs for the partnership after the break and it was a yorker from Umar Gul that had got the breakthrough for Pakistan. Cook was out once again lbw to a reverse swinging yorker from Umar Gul and he missed out on a century by 17 runs. Cook was patient in his knock of 83 which took him 146 balls with 11 fours. Paul Collingwood then teamed up with the attacking Pietersen and the pair added up useful runs before Pietersen had got himself out playing a wild shot outside his off. Shahid Nazir was the luckly bowler to have been rewarded with this big wicket of Pietersen’s which could be the turning point of this Test. Pietersen missed out a century by just 4 runs and he had faced just 114 balls to reach there and his innings had consisted of 13 fours and 2 sixes. Paul Collingwood (26*) and Ian Bell (9*) then fought through the nervous period before the Tea to take England to 298 for 4.
For all the drama that had taken place at the Brit Oval today, the TV Broadcasters – Sky Sports who use more than 20 cameras to capture the live pictures did not find any footage showing a Pakistan fielder tampering with the ball. Now that leaves to the question whether Umpire Hair was making his accusations without any proof and on his own assumptions? All Sky Sports could come close in picking up on what had happened was a clip showing Mohammad Asif rigorously rubbing the ball onto his trousers which was being closely watched by Hair. That is of course within the rules and that leaves the concerned authorities with absolutely no proof that the ball was indeed tampered by Pakistan.