(CNN) -- An inspired Pakistan beat England by 38 runs in a one-day international at Lord's Monday overshadowed by an increasingly bitter row over match fixing claims.
It leveled the series at 2-2, heading into Wednesday's fifth and now deciding match at the Rosebowl, but England were close to boycotting the match.
They were angered by claims by Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt that they had received "enormous sums of money" to deliberately lose the preceding third one-day international at The Oval last week.
England captain Andrew Strauss expressed their "outrage and dismay" in an official statement released shortly before Monday's match and revealed that his side had "strong misgivings" about taking to the field.
Top-order batsman Jonathan Trott was also involved in a pre-match altercation with Pakistan's Wahab Riaz as they argued in the nets as relations between the two sides reached a low.
But with a large crowd expected at the home of cricket, Strauss and his men relented and initially looked set for victory to clinch the series.
Pakistan were struggling on 155 for five, with off-spinner Graeme Swann taking four of the wickets to fall.
But Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi made a quickfire 37 before Abdul Razzaq powered 44 off just 20 balls as he plundered the England attack, 42 coming off the last two overs.
Combined with Mohammad Hafeez's top score of 64 it gave Pakisan a challenging 265 for seven in 50 overs.
Strauss and fellow opener Steven Davies put on 113 as England again looked favorites for victory but pacemen Umar Gul and Shoaib Akhtar had other ideas.
They took seven wickets between them with off-spinner Saeed Ajmal again frustrating England with two for 31.
Gul wrapped up victory with 23 balls to spare when he bowled Stuart Broad to spark scenes of wild celebration by his teammates who have been under the shadow of a 'spot-fixing' allegations for the past month.
Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif were named in a tabloid newspaper report and have been suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over claims they planned to bowl no-balls deliberately during last month's Test against England at Lord's.
Riaz has also been questioned by detectives, but all deny the claims.
Fresh 'fixing' allegations were reported in the tabloid press after the third one-day international before Butt responded with his own claims and told CNN Monday that he stood by his allegations against the England team.
Strauss was still seething at Butt's remarks after their dispiriting defeat.
He told reporters that the team would "explore every avenue available to us" in response to his claims, refusing to rule out legal moves.
"We don't want to let this sully our reputations," he added.