The game on the field is regulated by the two umpires, one of whom stands behind the wicket at the bowler's end, the other in a position called "square leg" which is about 15–20 metres away from the batsman on strike and in line with the popping crease on which he is taking guard. The umpires have several responsibilities including adjudication on whether a ball has been correctly bowled (i.e., not a no-ball or a wide); when a run is scored; whether a batsman is out (the fielding side must first appeal to the umpire, usually with the phrase "How's that?" or "Owzat?"); when intervals start and end; and the suitability of the pitch, field and weather for playing the game. The umpires are authorised to interrupt or even abandon a match due to circumstances likely to endanger the players, such as a damp pitch or deterioration of the light.
In the home Test series victory against Pakistan in July and August 2006, several promising new players emerged. Most notable were the left-arm orthodox spin bowler Monty Panesar, the first Sikh to play Test cricket for England, and left-handed opening batsman Alastair Cook. The 2006–07 Ashes series was keenly anticipated and was expected to provide a level of competition comparable to the 2005 series. In the event, England, captained by Flintoff who was deputising for the injured Vaughan, lost all five Tests to concede the first Ashes whitewash in 86 years.
Cricket remained a low-key local pursuit for much of the century. It is known, through numerous references found in the records of ecclesiastical court cases, to have been proscribed at times by the Puritans before and during the Commonwealth. The problem was nearly always the issue of Sunday play as the Puritans considered cricket to be "profane" if played on the Sabbath, especially if large crowds and/or gambling were involved.
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In 1956 Australia toured Pakistan. Pakistan had a victory against them. They bowled Australia out for 80 in their first innings. Pakistan took a lead of 119 runs when they were dismissed at 199. Pakistan again bowled Australia out for 187 in the second innings, giving the hosts a target of 68. Pakistan won comfortably by 9 wickets. Again, Fazal Mahmood was the chief destroyer, taking 13/114 in the match.
In the final before a packed house at The Oval, India won the toss and elected to bowl first. Pakistan's batting lineup made India question their decision with opening batsman Fakhar Zaman scoring his maiden One Day International century (114 off 106 deliveries), with major contributions from Azhar Ali (59) and Mohammad Hafeez (57*) pushing Pakistan to a total of 338. India lost their top order quickly with Mohammad Amir getting the key wickets of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. Resistance came in the form of Hardik Pandya, who scored a brisk 76. Hasan Ali, Pakistan's star find in this tournament took the final wicket finishing with figures of 3–19, leaving India 180 runs short of the target and handing Pakistan their first Champions Trophy. The margin of victory was the largest in an ICC tournament final.
England struggled to match their Test form in the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Despite beating South Africa and tying with eventual winners India, England suffered shock losses to Ireland and Bangladesh before losing in the quarter-finals to Sri Lanka. However the team's excellent form in the Test match arena continued and on 13 August 2011, they became the world's top-ranked Test team after comfortably whitewashing India 4–0, their sixth consecutive series victory and eighth in the past nine series. However, this status only lasted a year – having lost 3–0 to Pakistan over the winter, England were beaten 2–0 by South Africa, who replaced them at the top of the rankings. It was their first home series loss since 2008, against the same opposition.
Botham took over the captaincy in 1980 and they put up a good fight against the West Indies, losing a five match Test series 1–0, although England were humbled in the return series. After scoring a pair in the first Test against Australia, Botham lost the captaincy due to his poor form, and was replaced by Brearley. Botham returned to form and played exceptionally in the remainder of the series, being named man of the match in the third, fourth and fifth Tests. The series became known as Botham's Ashes as England recorded a 3–1 victory.