Lawyers for Pakistan have found a "strong point" to defend their case in the ball tampering row after learning that umpire Billy Doctrove had initially not agreed with Darrell Hair over changing the ball which eventually led to the Oval Test forfeiture.
"This is a key aspect of the defence and it is a strong point in favour of Pakistan that the tampering charges are unjustified," a leading cricket website quoted sources as saying a day before the start of the disciplinary hearing here of Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq.
However, since Doctrove eventually agreed to Hair's decision to change the ball, the point might not be legally valid but DL Piper, the law firm hired by the Pakistan Cricket Board, is expected to encash on it by arguing that Hair had acted in haste.
"Doctrove, as written in his match report on the incident, was initially of the opinion that the umpires allow play to carry on for a few more overs to help identify the cause of the change in the ball's condition.
"Eventually, though, Hair is thought to have reasoned that if both umpires were in agreement that the condition of the ball had been altered then they should change it immediately. Doctrove then agreed and the ball was replaced."
The umpires hence acted in accordance with Law 42.3, on ball tampering, which states that umpires shall change the ball "after consultation".