Pakistan beat England by 38 runs to level their one-day international series at 2-2 at Lord’s on Monday in a match the hosts had thought about giving up on as a “fixing” row escalated.
England captain Andrew Strauss, in a statement issued shortly before the toss, expressed his side’s “outrage and dismay” at comments from Pakistan cricket chief Ijaz Butt that England had received “enormous sums of money” to deliberately lose last week’s third ODI at The Oval.
An angry Strauss said England had decided to play Monday’s match and today’s fifth and final one-day international at Hampshire’s Rose Bowl despite their “strong misgivings” because of their “responsibilities to the game of cricket.”
The opening batsman’s mood would not have been improved by the way England, chasing 266, to win, lost a trio of wickets for 14 runs to slump from the commanding position of 113 without loss to 127 for three.
Fast bowler Umar Gul, one of the world’s best under floodlights, took four for 32 in 8.1 overs after Saeed Ajmal again tormented England, the off-spinner finishing with two for 31.
Express quick Shoaib Akhtar weighed in with three for 59.
Strauss, still furious with Butt’s allegations, told reporters after stumps that the team would “explore every avenue available to us” in a bid to counter the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman’s claims.
“We don’t want to let this sully our reputations,” he said.
That Pakistan, who have fought back to level the series from 2-0 down, made 265 for seven was thanks mainly to Abdul Razzaq’s rapid unbeaten 44 .
Pakistan had been 155 for five, with off-spinner Graeme Swann taking four for 37.
However, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi made 37 and the big-hitting Razzaq’s runs came in just 20 balls.
Mohammad Hafeez top-scored with 64.
“Both sides understood their responsibility to put on a good clean game of cricket,” Strauss said.
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said it had been a “beautiful game of cricket.”
The former fast bowler added: “This is a tough tour [anyway] and we have a young, developing side. I’m so proud of the way the boys kept their cool. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, it does get to you.”
Openers Strauss and Steven Davies stroked boundaries all round Lord’s before wicketkeeper Davies was bowled off an inside edged drive off Ajmal for 49.
Jonathan Trott, involved in a pre-match altercation with Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz, played on to Ajmal for four as he pushed forward defensively.
Left-hander Strauss, who made 126 in England’s four-wicket second ODI win at Headingley, was in fine touch as he made 68 off 72 balls with eight boundaries.
However, he fell when he cut Akhtar and Fawad Alam at backward point held a sharp catch.
Gul knocked back Paul Collingwood’s off-stump and when he bowled Tim Bresnan with a superb swinging delivery, England were 205 for seven.
England were all but out of the game when Eoin Morgan, the last of England’s recognized batsman, skied a straight drive off Akhtar and Mohammad Yousuf, not the most agile of fielders, held a steepling catch to leave the hosts 211 for eight in the 44th over.
Gul finished the match with 23 balls to spare when he bowled Stuart Broad.
Butt, in an inflammatory interview with the Indian NDTV news channel, said on Sunday: “There is loud and clear talk in bookie circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose the [Oval] match.”