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What is cricket?

What is cricket?

Cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams. No one is sure when cricket was invented, but there are records of the game being played as early as the sixteenth century.

Cricket is played on an oval with a 22-yard (20.12-metre) central strip called a 'pitch', with a wicket at each end. Two teams, each with 11 players, take it in turns to bat and field. Play starts when a bowler (from the fielding team) bowls the ball overarm at a batting player. The batting team tries to score as many runs as it can by hitting the ball with the bat and running between the wickets. The fielding team tries to get the players from the batting side 'out' in various ways, including hitting the wicket or catching the ball on the full after it has been hit. Once the batting team is all out, the teams swap over. The side batting second must beat the score of the team that batted first.

Each time a team bats, it is known as its innings. In Test matches, which must be completed in five days, each side has two innings. Matches can be drawn when the team bowling last fails to get all the opposition players out before the end of the fifth day. It is also a draw when rain prevents a match from being completed.

A colour illustration showing some of the details of cricket. The illustration shows a cricket pitch and six people on it. At the near end of the pitch are the bowler, umpire and the 'off-strike' (non-batting) batsman. The bowling crease is indicated by two parallel white lines on the ground. At the far end of the pitch are the batsman 'on-strike' (batting), the wicketkeeper and a fielder. The batting crease is indicated by two parallel white lines on the ground. An inset box to the right of the illustration shows the wicket, with its stumps and bails.