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.[14] This first Australian tour were mostly against odds of at least 18/11.
A major controversy occurred in 2006 when the team toured England for a four-match Test series. England led the series 2-0 going into the final Test. In the first innings of that match, they were bowled out for 173 and Pakistan scored 504 in reply. In the second innings, after the dismissal of Alastair Cook for 83 off a reverse-swinging from Umar Gul, umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove called a halt to play as they adjudged Pakistan to be guilty of ball tampering. The ball was replaced and England was awarded 5 penalty runs. This event was the catalyst for the subsequent refusal to continue the match after tea by the Pakistan team. Based on the Laws of Cricket, the umpires declared Pakistan to have forfeited the game. The ICC later changed the result of the match to a draw, and subsequently reinstated the original result on 1 February 2009.
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.
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