Steven Davies scores 87 at Durham’s Emirates ground as England take one-day victory in first of five-match series.
|Captain Shahid Afridi, left, said Pakistan paceman Umar Gul was ‘amazing’ as he picked up six wickets [GALLO/GETTY]|
Victorious Pakistan players have been given little time to savour their series-saving win over England after fresh spot-fixing allegations were made regarding Friday’s match.
Umar Gul took six wickets in a devastating display of fast bowling as Pakistan secured a 23-run victory over England at the Oval.
But the International Cricket Council (ICC) revealed on Saturday morning that a British newspaper had handed over information concerning suspicious scoring patterns during Pakistan’s innings.
It comes a day after police investigating spot-fixing allegations against the visitors from last month’s Test match at Lord’s passed their evidence to prosecutors.
Spot-fixing involves arranging specific incidents in a match to favour gamblers or bookmakers.
In a statement, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “a source informed The Sun newspaper that a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match and, broadly speaking, that information appeared to be correct.”
“We therefore feel it is incumbent upon us to launch a full enquiry into this particular game although it is worth pointing out at this stage that we are not stating as fact that anything untoward has occurred.”
A report in the newspaper said illegal bookmakers knew the scoring pattern in Pakistan’s innings before the start of the match.
“The ICC maintains a zero-tolerance approach to corruption,” said Lorgat.
“Any player or official found guilty of an offence will face the full rigour of our robust Anti-Corruption Code so that we can ensure the integrity of the sport is maintained.”
Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have been questioned by officers looking into allegations made in another British tabloid after an undercover investigation into the Lord’s Test.
In Friday’s one-day international, Fawad Alam made 64 as Pakistan set England a seemingly unimposing total of 242 for victory in their innings.
The hosts began their run chase in confident fashion with opener Andrew Strauss making 57 from 54 balls, but they lost five wickets for 68 runs as Pakistan tightened the screw.
Eoin Morgan, in tandem with Luke Wright, steadied the England ship but Gul, who had earlier claimed the wickets of Strauss and Michael Yardy, tore through England’s lower order.
He dismissed Morgan and Tim Bresnan in the same over, before taking the wickets of Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann to leave the tourists on the brink of victory.
Abdul Razzaq finished off the job with the wicket of James Anderson to leave the five-match series poised at 2-1 in England’s favour.
“Chasing 242 you would back yourself to win at the Oval but Umar Gul in particular was outstanding,” England captain Strauss told Sky Sports.
“Any time a bowler gets six wickets for 42, generally he is going to be in the winning side.”
“I thought we were 30 or 40 runs short, but good teams can defend any total. Umar Gul was amazing”
Shahid Afridi, Pakistan one-day captain
England’s bowlers quickly took the fight to their opponents, reducing Pakistan to 31-3.
Alam and Asad Shafiq steered Pakistan out of immediate danger, adding 64 runs before the latter was caught off the bowling of Swann.
Alam dug in and scored 64 before he was caught by Strauss at midwicket having lifted the tourists to 181-6.
Anderson and Bresnan, who claimed three wickets apiece, cleaned up the tail and England began their run chase brightly.
Openers Strauss and Steven Davies put 35 on the board before Abdul Razzaq up-rooted Davies’s off stump and Shoaib Akhtar ensured Jonathan Trott quickly followed him back to the pavilion with a difficult, inswinging yorker.
England collapsed to 103-5 before Morgan and Wright brought some stability, adding 98 runs without loss.
Then Gul, who finished with figures of 6-42, took control as England’s last four wickets fell for just 18 runs.
“I think we are capable of beating any good team,” Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said.
“I didn’t think our total was enough; I thought we were 30 or 40 runs short, but good teams can defend any total. Umar Gul was amazing.”
Last month the News of the World newspaper accused Butt, Amir and Asif of being paid by businessman Mazhar Majeed to deliberately bowl no-balls during the Lord’s Test.
Majeed, who was also arrested and questioned by police, appeared to accept 150,000 British pounds ($232,000) from the reporters, posing as front men for a Far East gambling cartel.
“The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has today delivered an initial file of evidence relating to conspiracy to defraud bookmakers to the Crown Prosecution Service,” a London police statement said on Friday.
“The file will now be subject to CPS consideration. This is an initial file and the MPS investigation continues.”