I was at the Oval on Saturday, and I will of course give you a full report on the ultimate picnic later. But yesterday there were some rather strange events in the match and though I wasn't there yesterday, I was watching it all live on Sky Sports. And that, of course, makes me an expert.
I'll split this into two posts. First, here's a quick summary of what happened for those who don't know:
The Umpire, Darrell Hair, inspected the ball and decided that one of the Pakistan players had been tampering with it, (scratching it up so it would swing more) so, in accordance with the laws and the playing conditions etc etc he awarded five runs to England and got the English batsmen to pick a different ball from a selection of six bashed-up rubbish ones.
The Pakistan Captain, Inzamam Ul-Haq, looked a bit confused and angry at this point, but responded very calmly and everyone got on with the game - until tea.
After the tea break, the umpires went out to carry on the game. The usual order in which the players go back out onto the pitch is umpires, fielders (in this case Pakistan), then batsmen (two English blokes).
But yesterday, the umpires stood there on their own for a while with nobody else appearing. So they went back to the pavilion to talk to the Pakistan team. Then the umpires went back on the pitch, and pretty soon the England batsmen joined them, but the Pakistan side didn't. So Darrell Hair decided that Pakistan were refusing to play, and knocked the bails off the stumps, which indicates that the match is over. According to the laws of cricket, if a side refuses to play, the umpire is meant to check with the captain, and if the side still refuses to play, they forfeit the game. That's what Darrell Hair decided had happened. So England had won. Unfortunately, nobody told Pakistan this (or the crowd), and the Pakistan side trotted out onto the pitch a few minutes after the umpires and batsmen had gone back in. The crowd (not having a clue what was going on) booed. And the umpires refused to come out to re-start the game.
It took until 10pm, and a lot of negotiation, for an official statement to be released confirming that England (who'd been in a losing position by the way) had won the match, through Pakistan's forfeit.
There's a lot wrong with this, but I'll put it in another post.