More selectorial problems abounded during Atherton's reign as new chairman of selectors and coach Ray Illingworth (then into his 60s) assumed almost sole responsibility for the team off the field. The youth policy which had seen England emerge from the West Indies tour of 1993–94 with some credit (though losing to a seasoned Windies team) was abandoned and players such as Gatting and Gooch were persisted with when well into their 30s and 40s. England continued to do well at home against weaker opponents such as India, New Zealand and a West Indies side beginning to fade but struggled badly against improving sides like Pakistan and South Africa. Atherton had offered his resignation after losing the 1997 Ashes series 3–2 having been 1–0 up after two matches – eventually to resign one series later in early 1998. England, looking for talent, went through a whole raft of new players during this period, such as Ronnie Irani, Adam Hollioake, Craig White, Graeme Hick and Mark Ramprakash. At this time, there were two main problems:

Pakistan made their first tour of England in 1954 and drew the series 1–1 after a victory at The Oval in which fast bowler Fazal Mahmood took 12 wickets. Pakistan's first home Test match was against India in January 1955 at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dacca, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), after which four more Test matches were played in Bahawalpur, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi (all five matches in the series were drawn, the first such occurrence in Test history. In the same year, New Zealand toured Pakistan for their first series against them. They defeated New Zealand by an innings and 1 run in the first test and won the 2nd test match by 4 wickets. The final test ended in a draw, resulting Pakistan's first ever Test series win with 2-0 margin.


Five England bowlers have taken four wickets in an over, three of these at Headingley. They were Maurice Allom v. New Zealand at Christchurch in 1929–30, Kenneth Cranston v. South Africa at Headingley in 1947, Fred Titmus v. New Zealand at Headingley in 1965, Chris Old v. Pakistan at Edgbaston in 1978 and Andy Caddick v. West Indies at Headingley in 2000

79.1 OUT! Caught. Josh Hazlewood to Mohammad Rizwan. Short, outside off stump on the back foot cutting, mis-timed in the air uncontrolled to deep backward point, by Lyon. Can you believe it? Rizwan has battled so hard to get to 95 but he has given his wicket away. The fielder in the deep has not had to move a muscle as Rizwan picked him out beautifully. That could be the game done and dusted.
79.1 OUT! Caught. Josh Hazlewood to Mohammad Rizwan. Short, outside off stump on the back foot cutting, mis-timed in the air uncontrolled to deep backward point, by Lyon. Can you believe it? Rizwan has battled so hard to get to 95 but he has given his wicket away. The fielder in the deep has not had to move a muscle as Rizwan picked him out beautifully. That could be the game done and dusted.
In 2002, Pakistan participated in their second Asian Test Championship. It was originally planned to include all four Asian ICC full-members (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). However, before the tournament started, India's participation was put in doubt. After defeating Bangladesh in the 1st Test to meet Sri Lanka in the final, they were defeated by them by 8 wickets.
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