The 1938–39 tour of South Africa saw another experiment with the deciding Test being a timeless Test that was played to a finish. England lead 1–0 going into the final timeless match at Durban. Despite the final Test being 'timeless', the game ended in a draw after 10 days as England had to catch the train to catch the boat home. A record 1,981 runs were scored, and the concept of timeless Tests was abandoned. England went on one final tour of the West Indies in 1939 before the Second World War, although a team for an MCC tour of India was selected more in hope than expectation of the matches being played.
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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.
England and Australia were the first teams to play a Test match (15–19 March 1877), and along with South Africa, these nations formed the Imperial Cricket Conference (the predecessor to today's International Cricket Council) on 15 June 1909. England and Australia also played the first ODI on 5 January 1971. England's first T20I was played on 13 June 2005, once more against Australia.
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Their fortunes changed on the 1953 Ashes tour as they won the series 1–0. England did not lose a series between their 1950–51 and 1958–59 tours of Australia and secured famous victory in 1954–55 under the captaincy of Peter May, thanks to Frank Tyson whose 6/85 at Sydney and 7/27 at Melbourne are remembered as the fastest bowling ever seen in Australia. The 1956 series was remembered for the bowling of Jim Laker who took 46 wickets at an average of 9.62, including figures of 19/90 at Old Trafford. After drawing to South Africa, England defeated the West Indies and New Zealand comfortably.
When playing Test cricket, England's cricket whites feature the three lions badge on the left of the shirt and the name and logo of the sponsor NatWest on the right. English fielders may wear a navy blue cap or white sun hat with the ECB logo in the middle. Helmets are also coloured navy blue. Before 1997 the uniform sported the TCCB lion and stumps logo on the uniforms, while the helmets, jumpers and hats had the three lions emblem.
The first group match was with rivals India, which India won by 7 wickets. The next match was against Australia, where Pakistan scored 191/5 with brilliant batting of Umar Akmal. Australia had a fierce going with 33 ball 74 runs by Glenn Maxwell, but only managed to score 175. Pakistan won the match by 16 runs. The match against Bangladesh was a comfortable win by 50 runs. Pakistani opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad scored the maiden T20I century by a Pakistani. He finished with an unbeaten 111 off 62 balls. The crucial match was with West Indies, where the winning team would go through to the semi-final. West Indies won the toss and elected to bat first. They scored 166/6 in their 20 overs, West Indies scored 82 runs off the last 5 overs giving a fearsome hitting to the Pakistani bowlers. Pakistan's chase was unsuccessful as they were bowled out for just 82 runs. Pakistan was eliminated from the tournament with this result.
ICC regulations also allow cricketers who represent associate (i.e. non-Test-playing) nations to switch to a Test-playing nation, provided nationality requirements are fulfilled. In recent years, this has seen Irish internationals Ed Joyce, Boyd Rankin and Eoin Morgan switch to represent England, whilst Gavin Hamilton previously played for Scotland – though Joyce, Rankin and Hamilton were later able to re-qualify for and represent the countries of their birth.
This loss saw the resignation of Strauss as captain (and his retirement from cricket). Cook, who was already in charge of the ODI side, replaced Strauss and led England to a 2–1 victory in India – their first in the country since 1984–85. In doing so, he became the first captain to score centuries in his first five Tests as captain and became England's leading century-maker with 23 centuries to his name.
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. This first Australian tour were mostly against odds of at least 18/11.