Oval Test; Day 4 Report - There's a Hair in Pakistan's soup (again) by Abdul Habib 20th August 2006 On a day which should have been about England's brave fightback to draw level with Pakistan's huge first innings lead, it was the Umpires who took centre stage. Pakistan began the day promisingly with some good bowling by everyone except their star bowler Asif who for a change was spraying it around a bit. But after yet more dubious officiating combined with more inept fielding it was England who took full advantage of their chances and raced towards Pakistan's score. Kamran topped off his already dismal series with another dropped catch whilst Faisal Iqbal refused to hold onto the gift-wrapped chance sent his way by Cook because it looked too good to be true. Both Pieterson and Cook departed short of their centuries and Pakistan looked to be making their way back into the game, especially since the ball had begun to show signs that it was reversing. Gul was brought into the attack because he was the best exponent of reverse swing in the playing XI and it looked like England were about to get a taste of what they gave to the Aussies during the Ashes last year. But Hair who had been emboldened by the lack of any official Pakistani protest to his plainly biased officiating in the series so far, felt that he would push the Pakistani's that little bit further. Not content with demoralising them at Headingley, he felt that he had the chance to push them over the edge and make a name for himself as the no-nonsense umpire (only against Asian teams though). After all he'd pushed Pakistan around in their own backyard during the last Eng vs Pak series and come away without any mud sticking to him so why not see how far he could push them? After seeing the reverse swing generated by Gul, Hair picked up the ball at the end of the over and decided that it had been tampered with. He had the ball changed, gave the English batsmen the choice of replacement and gave a penalty of 5 runs. In not so many words, he told Pakistan that you are cheating and I'm not going to stand by and let it happen. Inzamam remonstrated with him angrily but in the end he just went back to playing out the rest of the session. Hair's smirk was without equal because he'd got away with it again or so he thought. Woolmer charged from the Pakistan dressing room to see the match referee and after an early tea was called the Pakistani dressing room was seen to be deep in heated discussion. In the end they decided to lodge their protest by delaying their return to the pitch after tea and so when Hair and Doctove strode to the middle they found themselves all alone and isolated. The match referee Mike Procter couldn't bare to see them looking like pratts so he ran out to talk to them and they began to come off the pitch just at the exact moment that the Pakistani team began piling out of their dressing room. Inzamam waved his arms in an open question when he saw the umpires leaving the pitch but when he wasn't given a reply he returned back into the dressing room with his team. Rather than speaking to the Pakistani team the umpires instead went to speak to England and returned to the middle with the two English batsmen, where once again the Pakistani's weren't following them. Hair called over his poodle Doctrove and told him that the match was over and everyone left the pitch. In the meantime the ECB chairman met with the PCB chairman and they convinced the Pakistan team to return to the pitch and finish the game. When Pakistan finally did make it down onto the pitch it was now the Umpires who were refusing to come down to the middle. According to the sky commentary team they can't find a single shred of video evidence to back Hair's claims and they had 20 camera's trained on the pitch. It seems the eagle-eyed hair who can't see edges that come off English bats has seen something that no-one else did. Or as is more likely as soon as he saw reverse swing he concluded that it must have been achieved through cheating. Either way the truth will be out in a few days and let's hope Hair is never allowed to stand as an umpire in any match ever again!!