If the 1980s were a low point for English Test cricket, then the 1990s were only a slight improvement. The arrival of Gooch as captain in 1990 forced a move toward more professionalism and especially fitness though it took some time for old habits to die. Even in 2011, one or two successful county players have been shown up as physically unfit for international cricket. Creditable performances against India and New Zealand in 1990 were followed by a hard-fought draw against the 1991 West Indies and a strong performance in the 1992 Cricket World Cup in which the England team finished as runners-up for the second consecutive World Cup, but landmark losses against Australia in 1990–91 and especially Pakistan in 1992 showed England up badly in terms of bowling. So bad was England's bowling in 1993 that Rod Marsh described England's pace attack at one point as "pie throwers". Having lost three of the first four Tests played in England in 1993, Gooch resigned to be replaced by Michael Atherton.
If a fielder is injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him, but the substitute cannot bowl or act as a captain. The substitute leaves the field when the injured player is fit to return. The Laws of Cricket were updated in 2017 to allow substitutes to act as wicket-keepers, a situation that first occurred when Mumbai Indians' wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan was injured in a match on 18 April 2018.
In 2016, Pakistan became No.1 Test team after their tour of England, where they drew series 2-2 (4). It was the first time since the ranking system were introduced, they were crowned No.1 and first time since 1988. It was another great achievement in Pakistan's Test history. They were also given Test mace in Lahore. However, their No.1 rank was short lived as their downfall began. After winning the series against the West Indies 2-1 (3) in UAE, Pakistan toured New Zealand and Australia for two match and three match Test series. They lost all five matches plus one lost against West Indies. They were down at No.5 in rankings. Misbah was considering retirement after the Australia tour but stayed till West Indies tour, saying he had 'one last job to do'.
On 30 November 1907, Abe Bailey, the President of South African Cricket Association, wrote a letter to the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC, England) secretary, F.E. Lacey. Bailey suggested the formation of an 'Imperial Cricket Board'. In the letter, he suggested that the board would be responsible for formulation of rules and regulations which will govern the international matches between the three members: Australia, England and South Africa. Bailey, wanted to host a Triangular Test series between the participant countries in South Africa. Australia rejected the offer. However, Bailey did not lose hope. He saw an opportunity of getting the three members together during the Australia's tour of England in 1909. After continued lobbying and efforts, Bailey was successful.
In 1876–77, an England team took part in what was retrospectively recognised as the first-ever Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia. The rivalry between England and Australia gave birth to The Ashes in 1882, and this has remained Test cricket's most famous contest. Test cricket began to expand in 1888–89 when South Africa played England.
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.
A major controversy occurred in 2006 when the team toured England for a four-match Test series. England led the series 2-0 going into the final Test. In the first innings of that match, they were bowled out for 173 and Pakistan scored 504 in reply. In the second innings, after the dismissal of Alastair Cook for 83 off a reverse-swinging from Umar Gul, umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove called a halt to play as they adjudged Pakistan to be guilty of ball tampering. The ball was replaced and England was awarded 5 penalty runs. This event was the catalyst for the subsequent refusal to continue the match after tea by the Pakistan team. Based on the Laws of Cricket, the umpires declared Pakistan to have forfeited the game. The ICC later changed the result of the match to a draw, and subsequently reinstated the original result on 1 February 2009.
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From 1970 to 1979, Pakistan played over 13 Test series, which they won 3, lost 5 and drew 5. In total of 41 Test matches, Pakistan won 6, lost 12 and drew 23. They had a below par performance. But from 1980 to 1989, they did better. Out of 21 Test series they have played from that period, they won 9, lost 5 and drew 7. In terms of matches, they played total of 72 matches, winning 20 and losing 12 with 40 draws. In 1987, Pakistan went to India for five match series. It was Sunil Gavaskar's last test series. The first four test went draw but the final match was thriller. Pakistan scored 116 before India scored 145. Pakistan came back with 249 on board, giving the host a target of 220. India fell 16 runs short and the series was considered as one of the best India-Pakistan series. In 1988, after West Indies tour where they drew 1-1 (3), Pakistan were rated as No.1 Test team. It was one of greatest moments in their history.
Michael Vaughan took over, with players encouraged to express themselves. England won five consecutive Test series prior to facing Australia in the 2005 Ashes series, taking the team to second place in the ICC Test Championship table. During this period England defeated the West Indies home and away, New Zealand, and Bangladesh at home, and South Africa in South Africa. In June 2005, England played its first ever T20 international match, defeating Australia by 100 runs. Later that year, England defeated Australia 2–1 in a thrilling series to regain the Ashes for the first time in 16 years, having lost them in 1989. Following the 2005 Ashes win, the team suffered from a spate of serious injuries to key players such as Vaughan, Giles, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones. As a result, the team underwent an enforced period of transition. A 2–0 defeat in Pakistan was followed by two drawn away series with India and Sri Lanka.
The 2009 Ashes series featured the first Test match played in Wales, at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. England drew the match thanks to a last-wicket stand by bowlers James Anderson and Panesar. A victory for each team followed before the series was decided at The Oval. Thanks to fine bowling by Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann and a debut century by Jonathan Trott, England regained the Ashes.
Cricket has close historical ties with Australian rules football and many players have competed at top levels in both sports. In 1858, prominent Australian cricketer Tom Wills called for the formation of a "foot-ball club" with "a code of laws" to keep cricketers fit during the off-season. The Melbourne Football Club was founded the following year, and Wills and three other members codified the first laws of the game. It is typically played on modified cricket fields.
After the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi ended their ODI careers. As a result, the captaincy of the ODI team was given to newcomer Azhar Ali. Under his captaincy, Pakistan played their first ODI series against Bangladesh. The tour was a disappointment and Pakistan lost all three ODIs as well as the T20 match. Clever bowling coupled with wonderful batting and fielding allowed the hosts to stroll past the visitors. This was Bangladesh's first win against Pakistan since the 1999 Cricket World Cup and first ever series win over Pakistan. However, Pakistan ended the tour on a positive with a 1–0 win in the two-match test series.