A Phoenix from the Ashes
England’s victory over Australia in the cricket has sparked huge celebrations. You might ask what all the fuss is about but this really is a big deal for cricket fans. It is the first time England has won this competition, called the Ashes, in Australia in 23 years. The last time they played there England lost 5-0. Australia is also England’s greatest rival and this biennial competition against them is considered by many to be more important than the cricket world cup.
Cricket is described by many as confusing, slow, boring and long. The last is often true – the Ashes, for example, normally has 25 days of cricket played over about six weeks. Unsurprisingly, there can be slow moments in a game of that length but is hardly ever boring…as long as you know the basic rules!
Here are ten key cricket words to help you understand the rules of cricket.
- A bat is the object made of wood which they use in sports like baseball and cricket to hit the ball. To bat is what you do when you hit the ball with the bat.
- A batsman is the person who hits the ball.
- To bowl in cricket is to throw the ball at the batsman, which you must do with a straight arm.
- A bowler is the person who throws the ball at the batsman
- A wicket is a set of five wood sticks, three vertical and two resting on top. The batsmen run between two wickets.
- When the batsmen run between the two wickets they win a point, which is normally called score a run.
- If a batsman scores 100 runs this is called a century.
- A fielder is a player whose job is to catch the ball after a batsman has hit it.
- If a batsman ‘loses’ we call this to be out or to get out. It is also known as to lose a wicket.
- Each time a team bats this is called an innings (like a game in tennis). Each team has two innings in a test (like a set in tennis) and normally a complete match (a series) has five tests.
There are two teams of eleven players and a bit like in baseball the teams take it in turns to bat or bowl. This means that at any one moment one team will only have two of their eleven players on the field. Their job is to bat, that is to hit the ball and then run between two sets of sticks, known as the wickets. Every time they do this they win a point. For this reason, winning points is called scoring runs and good batsmen regularly score centuries. The opposition, on the other hand, have all eleven players on the field. One member of the team (the bowler) bowls the ball at the opposition and the other ten players, known as fielders, try to catch the ball and stop the opposition from scoring runs. They also need to get the batsmen out. If a batsman is out, he has to leave and is replaced by the next member of his team. There are essentially two ways of getting a batsman out, which is also called taking a wicket. Either a fielder catches the ball directly without it touching the ground or the bowler makes sure the ball hits the wickets. Once one team’s batsmen are out, the teams change roles. In a full cricket game, called a test, each team bats twice and they have five days to play a test. A full series, like the Ashes, is the best of five tests.