Central contracts were installed – reducing players workloads – and following the arrival of Zimbabwean coach Duncan Fletcher, England thrashed the fallen West Indies 3–1. England's results in Asia improved that winter with series wins against both Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Hussain's side had a far harder edge to it, avoiding the anticipated "Greenwash" in the 2001 Ashes series against the all-powerful Australian team. The nucleus the side was slowly coming together as players such as Hussain himself, Graham Thorpe, Darren Gough and Ashley Giles began to be regularly selected. By 2003 though, having endured another Ashes drubbing as well as another first-round exit from the World Cup, Hussain resigned as captain after one Test against South Africa.
In Super 8s stage, Pakistan lost to England, and New Zealand, only won against South Africa. They finished only behind England in Group E of Super 8s, reached to the semi-finals The semi-final for Pakistan was again with Australia, where they scored 191/6 with Umar Akmal's not out 56 runs. Australia had a good start, where Michael Hussey scored a match winning unbeaten 64 runs from just 24 balls. Australia scored 197/7 in 19.5 overs and won the match. With this match, Pakistan lost their defended World T20 title.
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.
Hasan Ali was named as player of the tournament. Pakistan captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed stated (after the opening match against India) "I said to the boys, the tournament doesn't finish here. Good cricket, positive cricket and we will win". After Pakistan's victory, they moved up from 8th to 6th in the ICC ODI rankings. The ICC Team of the Tournament had Sarfaraz Ahmed as captain, Fakhar Zaman, Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali from Pakistan.
After a drawn Test series in South Africa, England won their first ever ICC world championship, the 2010 World Twenty20, with a seven-wicket win over Australia in Barbados. The following winter in the 2010–11 Ashes, they beat Australia 3–1 to retain the urn and record their first series win in Australia for 24 years. Furthermore, all three of their wins were by an innings – the first time a touring side had ever recorded three innings victories in a single Test series. Cook earned Man of the Series with 766 runs.
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.