The 1986 Austral-Asia Cup, played in Sharjah in UAE, saw a last-ball victory for Pakistan against their arch-rivals India, with Javed Miandad emerging as a national hero. India batted first and set a target of 245 runs, leaving Pakistan with a required run rate of 4.92 runs per over. Miandad came in to bat at number 3 and Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals. Later recalling the match, he stated that his main focus was to lose with dignity. With 31 runs needed in the last three overs, Miandad hit a string of boundaries while batting with his team's lower order, until four runs were required from the last delivery of the match. Miandad received a leg side full toss from Chetan Sharma, which he hit for six over the midwicket boundary.
The 1930 Ashes series saw a young Don Bradman dominate the tour, scoring 974 runs in his seven Test innings. He scored 254 at Lord's, 334 at Headingley and 232 at The Oval. Australia regained the Ashes winning the series 3–1. As a result of Bradman's prolific run-scoring the England captain Douglas Jardine chose to develop the already existing leg theory into fast leg theory, or bodyline, as a tactic to stop Bradman. Fast leg theory involved bowling fast balls directly at the batsman's body. The batsman would need to defend himself, and if he touched the ball with the bat, he risked being caught by one of a large number of fielders placed on the leg side.
Pakistan started well in the ICC Cricket World Cup, which was held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, after beating Kenya, Sri Lanka (one of the tournament favourites) and bye a margin, beating Canada. Shahid Afridi clearly stated that his team is capable of qualifying for the Semifinals. After a huge loss against New Zealand, Pakistan defeated Zimbabwe by 7 wickets. After victory against Zimbabwe Pakistan cemented their shot at playing the ICC CWC 2011 Quarters. One of the highlights of the tournament for Pakistan was when they beat Australia, who were led by 3 brilliant pace bowlers, Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson. However Pakistan defied the odds and defeated Australia, courtesy of a brilliant bowling display. This saw Australia's record win streak of 27 consecutive world cup games broken which saw them win every game between the 1999 world cup up until this game. In the quarter-finals they played West Indies. Pakistan were ruthless, as they emphatically won against the West Indies side by 10 wickets, due to another brilliant bowling display. In the semi-finals on 30 March, Pakistan had a match with its fiercest rival, India. India managed 260 after they batted first. Not having a good batting line-up along with a slow start to the chase, Pakistan were 29 runs short as India reached the final (India went on to win the final, by defeating Sri Lanka).
Denness was replaced in 1975 by Tony Greig. While he managed to avoid losing to Australia, his side were largely thrashed the following year by the young and very much upcoming West Indies for whom Greig's infamous "grovel" remark acted as motivation. Greig's finest hour was probably the 1976–77 win over India in India. When Greig was discovered as being instrumental in World Series Cricket, he was sacked, and replaced by Mike Brearley.
Another moment for Pakistan under Misbah was when Pakistan toured Sri Lanka and defeated them in three match Test series. There, it was the first time Pakistan defeat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka after 9 years. And when England toured UAE for three match Test series, Pakistan defeated them 2-0 (3). As a result, they climbed to No.2 in Test rankings, also after 9 years.
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.
After Amir, Asif and Butt were dismissed, Pakistan made Misbah ul Haq the new captain of Pakistan. In subsequent series against South Africa in the UAE he led Pakistan in tests. After resignation of Shahid Afridi as test captain and suspension of Salman Butt due to spot-fixing scandal, Misbah was preferred over Younus Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and Kamran Akmal as captain. Wasim Akram stated that although the decision was surprising, if Misbah bats and fields well everything else will go according to plan.
Keith Fletcher took over as captain in 1981, but England lost his first series in charge against India. Bob Willis took over as captain in 1982 and enjoyed victories over India and Pakistan, but lost the Ashes after Australia clinched the series 2–1. England hosted the World Cup in 1983 and reached the semi-finals, but their Test form remained poor, as they suffered defeats against New Zealand, Pakistan and the West Indies.
England's first match after the war was in the 1920–21 season against Australia. Still feeling the effects of the war England went down to a series of crushing defeats and suffered their first whitewash losing the series 5–0. Six Australians scored hundreds while Mailey spun out 36 English batsmen. Things were no better in the next few Ashes series losing the 1921 Ashes series 3–0 and the 1924–25 Ashes 4–1. England's fortunes were to change in 1926 as they regained the Ashes and were a formidable team during this period dispatching Australia 4–1 in the 1928–29 Ashes tour.
From 1990 to 1999, Pakistan did even better. They played 29 series, winning over 15 and losing 9 with 5 drawn. In terms of matches, they played 74, winning 40, losing 21 and drawing 13. In this period, the lowest point of for Pakistan came in 1998 where they lost to Zimbabwe 1-0 in three match series. The biggest moment came in Asian Test Championship in 1998 where they defeated Sri Lanka in the final by an innings and 175 runs.
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