England confirmed their place at the top of the Test rankings for the first time with victory over India in the third Test and a 3-0 lead in the series.
Here's how they did it, step by step...
January: England were in crisis when a rift between then skipper Kevin Pietersen and coach Peter Moores became public and led to both men resigning their posts. Andrew Strauss was drafted in to lead the team while assistant Andy Flower was made interim coach.
February: Flower's audition for the permanent role went poorly as England lost a four-Test series in the West Indies 1-0 and were bowled out for just 51 in the opening Test in Jamaica.
April 15: Flower accepts an offer to be England team manager and in his first press conference immediately pledges to "improve our position in the world rankings".
May: England begin a run that has seen them unbeaten in their past nine Test series, winning eight of them, by easily overcoming the West Indies 2-0 on home soil.
July: Last-wicket pair Monty Panesar and James Anderson survive 69 balls to draw the opening Ashes Test in Cardiff. England then beat Australia in the second Test at Lord's for the first time since 1934.
August: Jonathan Trott is handed his Test debut for the must-win fifth Ashes Test at the Oval and scores a century as the little urn is regained 2-1.
September 16: Andrew Flintoff retires from international cricket on medical advice. "Having been told that my body would no longer stand up to the rigours of cricket, I had no alternative," he said.
October: Flower and Strauss hold a meeting in South Africa that has since been credited as the starting point for focusing the team ethos that has driven the England team to the top. After crashing out of the Champions Trophy to Australia, who had just beaten them 6-1 in a one-day series after the Ashes, England's old problem of failing to back up a major success resurfaced. Flower responded by spelling out a rigid framework of discipline to ensure consistency in all formats.
January: England settle for a 1-1 drawn series in South Africa after losing the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg by an innings and 74 runs.
March: With rested skipper Strauss at home, Alastair Cook leads a 2-0 success in Bangladesh. Strauss returns for the home series that also ended 2-0.
May: England win an ICC international tournament for the first time by beating Australia in the final of the World Twenty20 in Barbados.
August: England beat Pakistan 3-1 in a series undermined by the spot-fixing controversy. A key moment ahead of the winter's Ashes also occurred in the Oval nets before the third Test. Forgotten quick Chris Tremlett troubled Kevin Pietersen to such an extent that England's new Australia-born bowling coach David Saker immediately decided he must be a part of the tour Down Under.
January: England win an Ashes series in Australia for the first time in 24 years with a crushing 3-1 success. All three Test wins came via innings victories while Cook scored a remarkable 766 runs at 127.66.
May 4: Flower renewed his contract as team director after reportedly turning down an offer to replace Gary Kirsten as India coach. The Zimbabwean reiterates his desire to make England the number one Test team.
June: England move a step closer to becoming the top-ranked Test nation following a 1-0 rain-affected series against Sri Lanka. Now they need to beat India by a two-Test margin in the summer's second series to reach the summit.
August 13: England take over from India as the world's best Test team after winning the third Test at Edgbaston and the series 3-0, with one match to play. Cook again stars in Birmingham, scoring 294.