Cricket: Pakistan rally to level controversial series
Relations between England and Pakistan reached such a nadir yesterday that both sides seriously considered pulling out of the fourth one-day international at Lord's before the tourists regained their composure to square the series 2-2 last night.
It is understood that Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, told officials his team would not take the field following an ugly altercation in the nets between Wahab Riaz, the tourists' bowler, and England batsman Jonathan Trott.
Afridi's posturing followed a similar stance taken by members of the England team who did not want to play yesterday because of accusations from Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, claiming they had been paid to lose Friday's one-day international at the Oval.
At one stage in the morning the likelihood of an England walkout was put at 50-50 and another source close to the team said they "were extremely close" to not playing.
But after talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board hierarchy, the team were persuaded that a strongly worded statement was the best method of reply.
Pakistan recovered from the day's tense opening to complete a spirited victory.
Their 38-run win with 3.5 overs to spare under the floodlights in the day-night match squared the series at 2-2, with the final match scheduled for Southampton tomorrow.
Pakistan reached 265 for seven due primarily to Abdul Razzaq, who hit 44 not out from 20 balls. They bowled the home side out for 227 in 46.1 overs, with Eoin Morgan caught for 27.