Botham took over the captaincy in 1980 and they put up a good fight against the West Indies, losing a five match Test series 1–0, although England were humbled in the return series. After scoring a pair in the first Test against Australia, Botham lost the captaincy due to his poor form, and was replaced by Brearley. Botham returned to form and played exceptionally in the remainder of the series, being named man of the match in the third, fourth and fifth Tests. The series became known as Botham's Ashes as England recorded a 3–1 victory.
The tournament did not start well for Pakistan, losing to their arch-rivals India by 124 runs. But as the group stages progressed the bowling attack improved significantly for Pakistan, winning games against South Africa by 19 runs, and a crucial game against Sri Lanka by 3 wickets. This set up a semi-final against hosts and favourites England, where Hasan Ali took 3 wickets to take Pakistan to their first ICC Champions Trophy Final, a highly anticipated re-match with India.
In the 2007 Cricket World Cup, England lost to most of the Test playing nations they faced, beating only the West Indies and Bangladesh, although they also avoided defeat by any of the non-Test playing nations. Even so, the unimpressive nature of most of their victories in the tournament, combined with heavy defeats by New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, left many commentators criticising the manner in which the England team approached the one-day game. Coach Duncan Fletcher resigned after eight years in the job as a result and was succeeded by former Sussex coach Peter Moores.
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:
The 2010 World T20 was held in West Indies, where Pakistan was able to reach for the semi-final stage. Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh were in Group A. Pakistan won the first match against Bangladesh by 21 runs. Salman Butt became the hero of the match with his 73 runs from just 46 balls. The second match for Pakistan was with Australia, where Australia won the toss and elected to bat. They scored 191/10 with 49 ball 81 runs by Shane Watson. In this match, final over of Australian innings was bowled by Mohammad Amir. He took a triple-wicket maiden and there were two run-outs, and eventually five wickets fell in the final over of Australia's innings.
Another greatest performance from Pakistan is when they whitewashed the touring Australian cricket team. After beating Pakistan 1-0 in T20Is and 3-0 in ODIs, Pakistan were doubtful to win a two match Test series against the tourist. However, Pakistan won the matches by 221 runs and 356 runs. The win in the second Test was their highest winning margin against any opposition in their history. Also in the same match, Misbah equaled the then fastest Test match century off 56 deliveries.
The quarterfinal match of Pakistan was against Australia. Pakistan scored 213 runs. Australia started steadily but wickets regularly fell during the middle overs. The match gained a lot of attraction due to the on-field rivalry between Australian all-rounder, Shane Watson and Pakistani pacer, Wahab Riaz. Wahab's spell was praised despite not picking up many wickets. Pakistan dropped catches during the first power-play and conceded many runs. The partnership between Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell allowed Australia to win the match. As a result, Pakistan were knocked out of the tournament. The match was the final ODI for Pakistani's captain Misbah-ul-Haq and experienced all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
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.
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.
After losing consecutive series against Pakistan, England drew a three match Test series against New Zealand 0–0. They reached the final of the 1987 World Cup, but lost by seven runs against Australia. After losing 4–0 to the West Indies, England lost the Ashes to a resurgent Australia led by Allan Border. With the likes of Gooch banned following a rebel tour to South Africa, a new look England side suffered defeat again against the West Indies, although this time by a margin of 2–1.
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.