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Australia shocked by new fixing claims over Sydney Test

August 30, 2010 13:01 IST
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Australia's cricketers remain convinced their Test victory over Pakistan in Sydney earlier this year was achieved fairly after the contest has once again become the subject of match-fixing allegations.

On Saturday, police in London arrested a man for offering bribes to some Pakistan players for spot fixing in the fourth Test against England at Lord's following claims in the tabloid newspaper, the News of the World.

The man also told the newspaper the Sydney Test in January, which Australia won by 36 runs after overcoming a 206-run first innings deficit before dismissing Pakistan for 139 in their run chase, had been fixed.

The match was investigated by the ICC's anti-corruption unit, while the Pakistan tour of Australia, in which the tourists lost all of their matches, was the subject to an inquiry by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"As a cricketer everything I have seen so far has been quite shocking to tell the truth," Australia captain Ricky Ponting told ABC radio on Monday.

"The way we won (in Sydney) was one of the more satisfying moments that I've had on the cricket field.

"And now when some of these things come to light is when you start to slightly doubt some of the things that have happened.

"We all felt that we'd done everything in our power after a shaky start on day one.

"It wasn't until... maybe even a couple of months after that game was over that it (match-fixing speculation) all sort of started."

Batsman Mike Hussey, whose 134 not out in the second innings and 123-run ninth wicket stand with Peter Siddle helped set up the win, and off-spinner Nathan Hauritz also told local media they feel the victory was achieved fairly.

Cricket Australia said they are also shocked by the revelations but have no doubt the team had won the match on their merits.

"The reports from the UK are most disturbing and we look forward to the outcome of rigorous investigation by the UK authorities as well as by the ICC," CA chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement on Monday.

"We have no knowledge of the current allegations but by their very nature, they demonstrate the absolute importance of world cricket maintaining its vigilance in relation to anti-corruption."

The man at the centre of the allegations was released without charge on police bail on Monday.

Former International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive, Malcolm Speed, said Pakistan must be banned from world cricket.

"It looks as though it is endemic that several of the team members are involved and have been for some time. So perhaps they need a rest. It looks a fairly compelling case," said Speed, who was the ICC chief executive from 2001 to 2008.

"I would have liked it to have happened when I was involved with ICC but it didn't happen at that time," Speed added.

Meanwhile, former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden said he can sympathise with Pakistan's plight.

"You have a look at Pakistan which has been wiped out by the recent floods and you put yourself in the position that maybe you can try and get what's left of your family and salvage the situation. It puts cricket into perspective," Hayden was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy said the ICC must set an example by handing out a severe punishment to the guilty players.

"If you're into this, you haven't got a feeling or a desire for your country, it's simple as that. They're probably crook, they're ill and they don't care enough about their country for mine. Before you even consider the money they are throwing away a career or risking a career for one fee and hopefully those types have been caught," Healy told the Sydney Morning Herald.

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