Cricket has been stung by one of its biggest bribery and corruption scandals - and New Zealand umpires Tony Hill and Billy Bowden are unwittingly caught up in it.

Police said yesterday they had arrested a 35-year-old man for offering bribes to some Pakistani players during the test match against England at Lords after an exposé in the Sunday newspaper News of the World.

The man, Mazhar Majeed, was secretly filmed by the newspaper apparently accepting £150,000 ($311,000) to make sure no-balls were bowled at certain times.

Majeed correctly told the undercover reporter in advance when those deliveries would be bowled.

The newspaper claims several Pakistani players have profited from the scam, known as "spot-fixing".

The no-balls, called by the two New Zealand umpires, appeared blatant.

The allegations have tarnished a historic occasion for Hill and Bowden - the first time neutral umpires from the same country have officiated at the spiritual home of cricket.

Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed said Scotland Yard police officials had questioned several players including captain Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Amir and Kamran Akmal.

"They have also spoken to me and I have tried to answer their queries. We will co-operate all the way with them in these investigations," said Yawar.

Former spinner and chief selector Iqbal Qasim termed the allegations as shocking and a "great mishap".

"As far as I know, players have been accused of fancy fixing, to bowl no-balls," he said.

"They all must be investigated seriously and then strict action must be taken against those who are proved guilty."

England lead the four-test series 2-1 and are in a strong position in the fourth test.

The International Cricket Council said the test would continue as scheduled.

- Agencies, staff reporter