A Test match played between England and Sri Lanka at Cardiff in May 2011 - which was sensationally won by England - was fixed, an award-winning sports journalist Ed Hawkins in his new book titled 'Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy' revealed.
In the book, Hawkins claims that a bookie, 'Vinay', told him that the match between England and Sri Lanka at Cardiff in May 2011 was fixed. Then-England captain Andrew Strauss had described the match as "one of the most extraordinary matches I played in". At the end of the fourth day, England, replying to Lanka's 400 all out, were at 491-5. With rain wiping out the morning session of the fifth day, a draw seemed the only possible result. But England declared at 496/5 and then stunningly bowled out Lanka for 82 in just 24.4 overs to pull off a nearmiraculous victory by an innings and 14 runs.
Hawkins points out that by the time the Lankan players took the field at Cardiff, they had not been paid for over eight weeks as the Sri Lanka board was in dire straits financially, following huge expenditure on preparations for the World Cup.
He writes, "It does not take a particularly cynical mind to come to the conclusion that a cricketer who has been treated with such little regard for his welfare... might - just might - be tempted by the offer of payment to throw a Test."
Hawkins concedes that Vinay's claims can be easily dismissed. "A judge, administrator, player or perhaps an ACSU (Anti-corruption and Security Unit of the ICC) officer can wave them away with contempt."
But Hawkins poses a thought-provoking question. "The conundrum for cricket is obvious. Does it start listening to folks who are at the black heart of the matter when no one else appears willing to talk?"
This shows the startling suggestion that a bookie correctly predicted the way the Pakistan innings would unfold in the crucial 2011 World Cup semifinal against India in Mohali isn't the only explosive revelation in Hawkins' new book.
Ed Hawkins is an award-winning sports journalist. He has twice been named the Sports Journalists Association's Sports Betting Writer of the Year. This is his second book. (The Times of India)