The England team, with Brearley's exit in 1980, was never truly settled throughout the 1980s, which will probably be remembered as a low point for the team. While some of the great players like Botham, Gooch and Gower had fine careers, the team seldom succeeded in beating good opposition throughout the decade and did not score a home Test victory (except against minnows Sri Lanka) between September 1985 and July 1990.
As a result of this loss, the tour of 1882–83 was dubbed by England captain Ivo Bligh as "the quest to regain the ashes". England, with a mixture of amateurs and professionals, won the series 2–1. Bligh was presented with an urn that contained some ashes, which have variously been said to be of a bail, ball or even a woman's veil, and so The Ashes was born. A fourth match was then played which Australia won by four wickets. However, the match was not considered part of the Ashes series. England dominated many of these early contests with England winning the Ashes series 10 times between 1884 and 1898. During this period England also played their first Test match against South Africa in 1889 at Port Elizabeth.
With Australia sending a weakened team and the South African bowlers being ineffective England dominated the tournament winning four of their six matches. The match between Australia and South Africa at Lord's was visited by King George V, the first time a reigning monarch had watched Test cricket. England went on one more tour before the outbreak of the First World War, beating South Africa 4–0, with Barnes taking 49 wickets in the series.
As of 3 December 2019, England have played 1,018 Test matches, winning 368 and losing 303 (with 347 draws). In Test series against Australia, England play for The Ashes, one of the most famous trophies in all of sport, and they have won the urn on 32 occasions. England have also played 743 ODIs, winning 374. They have appeared in the final of the Cricket World Cup four times, winning once in 2019; they have also finished as runners-up in two ICC Champions Trophies (2004 and 2013). England have played 109 T20Is, winning 54. They won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2010, and were runners-up in 2016.
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Brearley's side showed again the hyperbole that is often spoken when one side dominates in cricket. While his side of 1977–80 contained some young players who went on to become England greats, most notably future captains Ian Botham, David Gower and Graham Gooch, their opponents were often very much weakened by the absence of their World Series players, especially in 1978, when England beat New Zealand 3–0 and Pakistan 2–0 before thrashing what was effectively Australia's 2nd XI 5–1 in 1978–79.
Against the South Africa cricket team in 2013 tour, they were badly whitewashed by the Proteas by 3-0 (3). In first Test, they were bowled out for 49, the worst in their history. That was considered to be worst performance against top side. At the same year, they also got their second defeat to Zimbabwe when Pakistan toured for two match Test series. The series was drawn 1-1. In early 2014, against Sri Lanka who toured UAE for 3 match series, Pakistan were down 1-0 after two match. In the final match, the first four days went nowhere until the early fifth day when Pakistan managed to bowl out the Sri Lankan cricket team for 214 and were asked to chase 301 in last two and a half session. Pakistan chased it down in 57.3 overs, the fastest chase in Test cricket history.
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.
One of the most biggest moment for Pakistan under Misbah's captaincy was when they whitewashed England, the then no.1 side, who toured UAE in early 2012. Mohsin Khan, the Pakistan coach, compared his team's whitewash against England to the 1992 Cricket World Cup triumph. "Today is like a dream come true," Mohsin told Sky Sports. "It's not a very experienced team but it's very talented. Today, the captain and all the players have proved they are one of the best in the world. It's a great achievement for the Pakistan team."
The 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand marked Pakistan's first World Cup victory. It is remembered for the comeback Pakistan made after losing key players such as Waqar Younis and Saeed Anwar and being led by an injured captain Imran Khan. Pakistan lost 3 of their first 5 matches and were nearly eliminated in the first round of the tournament after being bowled out for 74 runs against England, until the match was declared as a "no result" due to rain. Imran Khan told the team to play like "cornered tigers", after which Pakistan won five successive matches, including the semi-final against hosts New Zealand and the final against England.