Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, the Australia cricketers, said they did not suspect anything untoward in the Test match against Pakistan in January, despite allegations that the match may have been fixed. In the same report that exposed the "spot-fixing" scandal in the England-Pakistan Test series, Mazhar Majeed, the agent, also boasted of his involvement in the Sydney Test result, reportedly saying Australia's remarkable win netted one betting syndicate £830,000 (Dh4.74 million).
The wildly fluctuating nature of that match raised suspicions of match fixing, especially when four dropped catches by Kamran Akmal, the Pakistan wicketkeeper, allowed Australia to set the tourists 176 for victory, a total which they never looked like making after some ill-disciplined batting. But Hussey, who made what proved a match-winning 134, said despite the multiple chances dropped by Kamran, he did not sense that any of the Pakistan players had ulterior motives.
"It all happens in a split second, the catches off me in particular were all up to the stumps," Hussey said. "With those sort of catches, they either go in or they don't, I don't think you can try and drop those. I didn't think that there was anything untoward going on. They were certainly going very hard to get the wickets out there, they were going hard at me and they were certainly going very hard at Peter Siddle as well."
Ponting, speaking on a Melbourne radio station, agreed that Australia felt they had won the match fairly. "Certainly not through the middle of that game was there any thought at all. I guess we would just like to think that we totally outplayed them for the last three or four days of that Test match," he said. The Australia captain said he had been left stunned by the fall out of the News of the World story.
"I am absolutely shocked at some of the things that I saw on the TV the last couple of days," Ponting said. "I'm just blown away at some of these allegations." With one of cricket's greatest comebacks now shrouded in controversy, Hussey said he felt the memories of that Test have been sullied. "If the allegations are proved correct then it will take the gloss off," he said. "But at this stage they're just allegations from one newspaper and so I think we've just got to be careful not to start making our own conclusions about things that are just alleged at this stage.
"[But] if the allegations are proved correct, then yeah it's definitely disappointing and very sad for the game of cricket." * Press Association