The game underwent major development in the 18th century to become England's national sport. Its success was underwritten by the twin necessities of patronage and betting. Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and, in the middle years of the century, large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury. The single wicket form of the sport attracted huge crowds and wagers to match, its popularity peaking in the 1748 season. Bowling underwent an evolution around 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball instead of rolling or skimming it towards the batsman. This caused a revolution in bat design because, to deal with the bouncing ball, it was necessary to introduce the modern straight bat in place of the old "hockey stick" shape.
Despite having major upsets in the southern continent, Pakistan were triumphant in the West Indies tour of 2017, having won the T20 series 3-1, the ODI series by 2-1, and winning a thriller in the 3rd test to seal it 2-1. This was Pakistan's first ever test series win in the Caribbean. Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan retired after, with the captaincy going to Sarfaraz Ahmed.
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At the grassroots level, local club cricket is essentially an amateur pastime for those involved but still usually involves teams playing in competitions at weekends or in the evening. Schools cricket, first known in southern England in the 17th century, has a similar scenario and both are widely played in the countries where cricket is popular. Although there can be variations in game format, compared with professional cricket, the Laws are always observed and club/school matches are therefore formal and competitive events. The sport has numerous informal variants such as French cricket.
With the outbreak of the American Civil War, attention turned elsewhere. English tourists visited Australia in 1861–62 with this first tour organised as a commercial venture by Messrs Spiers and Pond, restaurateurs of Melbourne. Most matches played during tours prior to 1877 were "against odds", with the opposing team fielding more than 11 players to make for a more even contest. This first Australian tour were mostly against odds of at least 18/11.
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