Gower took over as skipper in 1984 and led the team to a 2–1 victory over India. They went on to win the 1985 Ashes 3–1, although after this came a poor run of form. Defeat to the West Indies dented the team's confidence, and they went on to lose to India 2–0. In 1986, Micky Stewart was appointed the first full-time England coach. England beat New Zealand, but there was little hope of them retaining the Ashes in 1986–87. However, despite being described as a team that 'can't bat, can't bowl and can't field', they went on to win the series 2–1.
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Pakistan then won their next four games against Zimbabwe, UAE, South Africa and Ireland. Sarfaraz Ahmed scored Pakistan's only century against Ireland and was awarded Man of the Match against both South Africa and Ireland. The victory was Pakistan's first against South Africa in a World Cup match. Pakistan finished third in group B and qualified for the quarterfinals.
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.
In the early 1900s, the first world-class South African cricket team emerged, comprising stars such Bonnor Middleton, Jimmy Sinclair, Charlie Llewellyn, Dave Nourse, Louis Tancred, Aubrey Faulkner, Reggie Schwarz, Percy Sherwell, Tip Snooke, Bert Vogler, and Gordon White, players who were capable of giving any international teams a run for their money. In addition to possessing batsmen such as Sinclair (the batsman with the highest strike rate in Test history), Nourse, Tancred, all-rounder Faulkner, Sherwell, Snooke, and White, the South Africans developed the world's first (and arguably greatest ever) spin attack which specialised in googly. Greatest among the South African googly quartet was Schwarz, who inspired by English googly bowler Bernard Bosanquet, regarded as the inventor of the googly, developed into the most devastating googly bowler of his time. He taught diligently the secrets of the googly to allrounder Faulkner, medium-pacer Vogler and specialist batsman White, and together the four formed a quartet which began to lead South Africa to unprecedented heights in Test cricket. Another important force during this period for South Africa were the all-round performances of Faulkner and Llewellyn. Faulkner came to be regarded as the first great South African all-rounders in the international game, regarded by some as even the greatest all-rounder in the world in the pre-1st World War period.
Pakistan has played 427 Test matches, winning 137, losing 130 and drawing 160. Pakistan was given Test status on 28 July 1952, following a recommendation by India, and made its Test debut against India at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi, in October 1952, with India winning by an innings and 70 runs. In the 1930s and 40s, several Pakistani Test players had played Test cricket for the Indian cricket team before the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Australia became the first international team to make an official tour to South Africa in 1921–22. The first two tests at Durban and Johannesburg were drawn, with Australia sealing the series 1–0 with a 10-wicket win in the 3rd Test at Cape Town. Herbie Taylor, who captained the South Africans, finished with 200 runs at 33.33. Claude Carter was the South Africans' leading bowler, taking 15 wickets at 21.93.
European colonisation of southern Africa began on Tuesday, 6 April 1652 when the Dutch East India Company established a settlement called the Cape Colony on Table Bay, near present-day Cape Town, and continued to expand into the hinterland through the 17th and 18th centuries. It was founded as a victualling station for the Dutch East Indies trade route but soon acquired an importance of its own due to its good farmland and mineral wealth. There was no significant British interest in South Africa until 1795, when British troops under General Sir James Henry Craig seized Cape Colony during the French Revolutionary War, the Netherlands having been occupied by French forces the same year. After the British seized Cape Colony a second time in 1806 to counteract French interests in the region in the course of the Napoleonic Wars, Cape Colony was turned into a permanent British settlement. As in most other parts of the world, British colonisation brought in its wake the introduction of the game of cricket, which began to develop rapidly. The first ever recorded cricket match in South Africa took place in 1808, in Cape Town between two service teams for a prize of one thousand rix-dollars.
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England drew the 1938 Ashes, meaning Australia retained the urn. England went into the final match of the series at The Oval 1–0 down, but won the final game by an innings and 579 runs. Len Hutton made the highest ever Test score by an Englishman, making 364 in England first innings to help them reach 903, their highest ever score against Australia.
The 2009 Ashes series featured the first Test match played in Wales, at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. England drew the match thanks to a last-wicket stand by bowlers James Anderson and Panesar. A victory for each team followed before the series was decided at The Oval. Thanks to fine bowling by Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann and a debut century by Jonathan Trott, England regained the Ashes.
In 1889, South Africa became the third test-playing nation when it played against England at Port Elizabeth, captained by Owen Robert Dunnell. Soon after, a 2nd test was played at Cape Town. However, these two matches, as was the case with all early matches involving the erstwhile 'South African XI' against all touring teams, did not receive the status of official 'Test' matches until South Africa formed the Imperial Cricket Conference with England and Australia in 1906. Neither did the touring English team organised by Major Warton even claim to be representing the English cricket team; the matches were marketed as 'Major Warton's XI' v/s 'South African XI' instead. Even the players who participated did not know that they had played international cricket, and the side that played South Africa was regarded to be of weak county strength. The team was captained by C.A. Smith, a decent medium pacer from Sussex, and for two of the Major Warton's XI, Basil Grieve and The Honourable Charles Coventry, the two Tests constituted their entire first-class career. Even so, the nascent, fledgling 'South African XI' was very weak, losing both tests comfortably to England, English spinner Johnny Briggs claiming 15–28 in the second Test at Cape Town. However, Albert Rose-Innes did make history by becoming the first South African bowler to take a five-wicket haul in Tests at Port Elizabeth.
The 1970s, for the England team, can be largely split into three parts. Early in the decade, Illingworth's side dominated world cricket, winning the Ashes away in 1971 and then retaining them at home in 1972. The same side beat Pakistan at home in 1971 and played by far the better cricket against India that season. However, England were largely helped by the rain to sneak the Pakistan series 1–0 but the same rain saved India twice and one England collapse saw them lose to India. This was, however, one of (if not the) strongest England team ever with the likes of Illingworth, Geoffrey Boycott, John Edrich, Basil D'Oliveira, Dennis Amiss, Alan Knott, John Snow and Derek Underwood at its core.
The Sri Lanka national men's cricket team, (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා ජාතික ක්රිකට් කණ්ඩායම,Tamil:இலங்கை தேசிய கிரிக்கெட் அணி) nicknamed The Lions, represents Sri Lanka in international cricket. It is a Full Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Test, One-Day International (ODI) and T20 International (T20I) status. The team first played international cricket (as Ceylon) in 1926–27, and were later awarded Test status in 1982, which made Sri Lanka the eighth Test cricket playing nation. The team is administered by Sri Lanka Cricket.