As illustrated above, the pitch is marked at each end with four white painted lines: The three stumps are aligned centrally on the bowling crease, which is eight feet eight inches long.
The popping crease is drawn four feet in front of the bowling crease and parallel to it; although it is drawn as a twelve-foot line six feet either side of the wicket , it is in fact unlimited in length.
The return creases are drawn at right angles to the popping crease so that they intersect the ends of the bowling crease; each return crease is drawn as an eight-foot line, so that it extends four feet behind the bowling crease, but is also in fact unlimited in length.
Before a match begins, the team captains who are also players toss a coin to decide which team will bat first and so take the first innings.
A match with four scheduled innings is played over three to five days; a match with two scheduled innings is usually completed in a single day. The main objective of each team is to score more runs than their opponents but, in some forms of cricket, it is also necessary to dismiss all of the opposition batsmen in their final innings in order to win the match, which would otherwise be drawn.
If the team that bats last scores enough runs to win, it is said to have "won by n wickets", where n is the number of wickets left to fall. The team with the greater score is then said to have "won by an innings and n runs", and does not need to bat again: If the team batting last is all out, and both sides have scored the same number of runs, then the match is a tie ; this result is quite rare in matches of two innings a side with only 62 happening in first-class matches from the earliest known instance in until January In the traditional form of the game, if the time allotted for the match expires before either side can win, then the game is declared a draw.
If the match has only a single innings per side, then a maximum number of overs applies to each innings. Such a match is called a "limited overs" or "one-day" match, and the side scoring more runs wins regardless of the number of wickets lost, so that a draw cannot occur.
If this kind of match is temporarily interrupted by bad weather, then a complex mathematical formula, known as the Duckworth-Lewis method after its developers, is often used to recalculate a new target score.
A one-day match can also be declared a "no-result" if fewer than a previously agreed number of overs have been bowled by either team, in circumstances that make normal resumption of play impossible; for example, wet weather.
In all forms of cricket, the umpires can abandon the match if bad light or rain makes it impossible to continue. White balls are mainly used in limited overs cricket , especially in matches played at night, under floodlights left.
The essence of the sport is that a bowler delivers i. The bat is made of wood, usually salix alba white willow , and has the shape of a blade topped by a cylindrical handle.
The ball is a hard leather-seamed spheroid , with a circumference of The ball has a "seam": The seam on a new ball is prominent, and helps the bowler propel it in a less predictable manner.
During matches, the quality of the ball deteriorates to a point where it is no longer usable, and during the course of this deterioration its behaviour in flight will change and can influence the outcome of the match.
During normal play, thirteen players and two umpires are on the field. Two of the players are batsmen and the rest are all eleven members of the fielding team.
The other nine players in the batting team are off the field in the pavilion. The image with overlay below shows what is happening when a ball is being bowled and which of the personnel are on or close to the pitch.
The bowler 4 is bowling the ball 5 from his end of the pitch to the batsman 8 at the other end who is called the "striker".
The other batsman 3 at the bowling end is called the "non-striker". While the bowler and the first slip are wearing conventional kit only, the two batsmen and the wicket-keeper are wearing protective gear including safety helmets, padded gloves and leg guards pads.
The bowling crease not numbered is the one on which the wicket is located between the return creases The bowler 4 intends to hit the wicket 9 with the ball 5 or, at least, to prevent the striker 8 from scoring runs.
The striker 8 intends, by using his bat, to defend his wicket and, if possible, to hit the ball away from the pitch in order to score runs.
Some players are skilled in both batting and bowling so are termed all-rounders. Bowlers are also classified according to their style, generally as fast bowlers , medium pace seam bowlers or, like Muttiah Muralitharan pictured above, spinners.
Batsmen are classified according to whether they are right-handed or left-handed. Of the eleven fielders, three are in shot in the image above.
The other eight are elsewhere on the field, their positions determined on a tactical basis by the captain or the bowler. Fielders often change position between deliveries, again as directed by the captain or bowler.
If a fielder is injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him, but the substitute cannot bowl or act as a captain.
The substitute leaves the field when the injured player is fit to return. The captain is often the most experienced player in the team, certainly the most tactically astute, and can possess any of the main skillsets as a batsman, a bowler or a wicket-keeper.
Within the Laws, the captain has certain responsibilities in terms of nominating his players to the umpires before the match and ensuring that his players conduct themselves "within the spirit and traditions of the game as well as within the Laws".
The wicket-keeper sometimes called simply the "keeper" is a specialist fielder subject to various rules within the Laws about his equipment and demeanour.
He is the only member of the fielding side who can effect a stumping and is the only one permitted to wear gloves and external leg guards.
Generally, a team will include five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers, plus the wicket-keeper.
The only fielders allowed to wear protective gear are those in positions very close to the batsman i. Subject to certain variations, on-field clothing generally includes a collared shirt with short or long sleeves; long trousers; woollen pullover if needed ; cricket cap for fielding or a safety helmet; and spiked shoes or boots to increase traction.
The kit is traditionally all white and this remains the case in Test and first-class cricket but, in limited overs cricket, team colours are worn instead.
Depending on the type of match being played, each team has either one or two innings. Sometimes all eleven members of the batting side take a turn to bat but, for various reasons, an innings can end before they have all done so.
The innings terminates if the batting team is "all out", a term defined by the Laws: An innings may end early while there are still two not out batsmen: The Laws state that, throughout an innings, "the ball shall be bowled from each end alternately in overs of 6 balls".
At this point, another bowler is deployed at the other end, and the fielding side changes ends while the batsmen do not. A bowler cannot bowl two successive overs, although a bowler can and usually does bowl alternate overs, from the same end, for several overs which are termed a "spell".
The batsmen do not change ends at the end of the over, and so the one who was non-striker is now the striker and vice-versa. The umpires have several responsibilities including adjudication on whether a ball has been correctly bowled i.
The umpires are authorised to interrupt or even abandon a match due to circumstances likely to endanger the players, such as a damp pitch or deterioration of the light.
Off the field in televised matches, there is usually a third umpire who can make decisions on certain incidents with the aid of video evidence.
The third umpire is mandatory under the playing conditions for Test and Limited Overs International matches played between two ICC full member countries.
These matches also have a match referee whose job is to ensure that play is within the Laws and the spirit of the game. The match details, including runs and dismissals, are recorded by two official scorers , one representing each team.
The scorers are directed by the hand signals of an umpire see image, right. For example, the umpire raises a forefinger to signal that the batsman is out has been dismissed ; he raises both arms above his head if the batsman has hit the ball for six runs.
The scorers are required by the Laws to record all runs scored, wickets taken and overs bowled; in practice, they also note significant amounts of additional data relating to the game.
Prior to the popularisation of scorecards, most scoring was done by men sitting on vantage points cuttings notches on tally sticks and runs were originally called notches.
Pratt of Sevenoaks and soon came into general use. Besides observing the Laws, cricketers must respect the "Spirit of Cricket," which is the "Preamble to the Laws," first published in the code, and updated in , and now opens with this statement: The Preamble is a short statement that emphasises the "Positive behaviours that make cricket an exciting game that encourages leadership,friendship and teamwork.
The major responsibility for ensuring fair play is placed firmly on the captains, but extends to all players, umpires, teachers, coaches and parents involved.
The umpires are the sole judges of fair and unfair play. They are required under the Laws to intervene in case of dangerous or unfair play or in cases of unacceptable conduct by a player.
Previous versions of the Spirit identified actions that were deemed contrary for example, appealing knowing that the batsman is not out but all specifics are now covered in the Laws of Cricket, the relevant governing playing regulations and disciplinary codes, or left to the judgement of the umpires, captains, their clubs and governing bodies.
The terse expression of the Spirit of Cricket now avoids the diversity of cultural conventions that exist on the detail of sportsmanship — or its absence.
Most bowlers are considered specialists in that they are selected for the team because of their skill as a bowler, although some are all-rounders and even specialist batsmen bowl occasionally.
The specialist bowlers are active multiple times during an innings, but may not bowl two overs consecutively. If the captain wants a bowler to "change ends", another bowler must temporarily fill in so that the change is not immediate.
A bowler reaches his delivery stride by means of a "run-up" and an over is deemed to have begun when the bowler starts his run-up for the first delivery of that over, the ball then being "in play".
This type of delivery can deceive a batsman into miscuing his shot, for example, so that the ball just touches the edge of the bat and can then be "caught behind" by the wicket-keeper or a slip fielder.
A spinner will often "buy his wicket" by "tossing one up" in a slower, steeper parabolic path to lure the batsman into making a poor shot. The batsman has to be very wary of such deliveries as they are often "flighted" or spun so that the ball will not behave quite as he expects and he could be "trapped" into getting himself out.
There are ten ways in which a batsman can be dismissed: The common forms of dismissal are bowled ,  caught ,  leg before wicket lbw ,  run out  and stumped.
If the batsman is out, the umpire raises a forefinger and says "Out! Batsmen take turns to bat via a batting order which is decided beforehand by the team captain and presented to the umpires, though the order remains flexible when the captain officially nominates the team.
A skilled batsman can use a wide array of "shots" or "strokes" in both defensive and attacking mode. If the ball touches the side of the bat it is called an " edge ".
The batsman does not have to play a shot and can allow the ball to go through to the wicketkeeper. Equally, he does not have to attempt a run when he hits the ball with his bat.
Batsmen do not always seek to hit the ball as hard as possible, and a good player can score runs just by making a deft stroke with a turn of the wrists or by simply "blocking" the ball but directing it away from fielders so that he has time to take a run.
The batsman on strike i. To register a run, both runners must touch the ground behind the popping crease with either their bats or their bodies the batsmen carry their bats as they run.
Each completed run increments the score of both the team and the striker. More than one run can be scored from a single hit: In these cases the batsmen do not need to run.
If an odd number of runs is scored by the striker, the two batsmen have changed ends, and the one who was non-striker is now the striker.
Additional runs can be gained by the batting team as extras called "sundries" in Australia due to errors made by the fielding side. This is achieved in four ways: It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in by representatives from England, Australia and South Africa, renamed the International Cricket Conference in , and took up its current name in It also appoints the umpires and referees that officiate at all sanctioned Test matches, Limited Overs Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals.
Each member nation has a national cricket board which regulates cricket matches played in its country, selects the national squad, and organises home and away tours for the national team.
The table below lists the ICC full members and their national cricket boards: Cricket is a multi-faceted sport with multiple formats that can effectively be divided into first-class cricket , limited overs cricket and, historically, single wicket cricket.
The highest standard is Test cricket always written with a capital "T" which is in effect the international version of first-class cricket and is restricted to teams representing the twelve countries that are full members of the ICC see above.
Although the term "Test match" was not coined until much later, Test cricket is deemed to have begun with two matches between Australia and England in the —77 Australian season ; since , most Test series between England and Australia have been played for a trophy known as The Ashes.
The term "first-class", in general usage, is applied to top-level domestic cricket. Test matches are played over five days and first-class over three to four days; in all of these matches, the teams are allotted two innings each and the draw is a valid result.
Limited overs cricket is always scheduled for completion in a single day. There are two types: List A which normally allows fifty overs per team; and Twenty20 in which the teams have twenty overs each.
List A was introduced in England in the season as a knockout cup contested by the first-class county clubs.
In , a national league competition was established. The concept was gradually introduced to the other leading cricket countries and the first limited overs international was played in In , the first Cricket World Cup took place in England.
Twenty20 is a new variant of limited overs itself with the purpose being to complete the match within about three hours, usually in an evening session.
The first Twenty20 World Championship was held in Limited overs matches cannot be drawn, although a tie is possible and an unfinished match is a "no result".
Single wicket was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and its matches were generally considered top-class.
In this form, although each team may have from one to six players, there is only one batsman in at a time and he must face every delivery bowled while his innings lasts.
Single wicket has rarely been played since limited overs cricket began. Matches tended to have two innings per team like a full first-class one and they could end in a draw.
Sometimes a perpetual trophy is awarded to the winner of the Test series, the most famous of which is The Ashes. A league competition for Test matches played as part of normal tours, the ICC World Test Championship , has been proposed several times, and is currently planned to begin in First-class cricket in England is played for the most part by the 18 county clubs which contest the County Championship.
The concept of a champion county has existed since the 18th century but the official competition was not established until Australia established its national first-class championship in —93 when the Sheffield Shield was introduced.
In Australia, the first-class teams represent the various states. Inter-parish contests became popular in the first half of the 17th century and continued to develop through the 18th with the first local leagues being founded in the second half of the 19th.
At the grassroots level, local club cricket is essentially an amateur pastime for those involved but still usually involves teams playing in competitions at weekends or in the evening.
Schools cricket , first known in southern England in the 17th century, has a similar scenario and both are widely played in the countries where cricket is popular.
Cricket has had a broad impact on popular culture, both in the Commonwealth of Nations and elsewhere. It originated as a term for difficult batting conditions in cricket, caused by a damp and soft pitch.
James , is often named the best book on any sport ever written. Cricket has close historical ties with Australian rules football and many players have competed at top levels in both sports.
The Melbourne Football Club was founded the following year, and Wills and three other members codified the first laws of the game.
In England, a number of association football clubs owe their origins to cricketers who sought to play football as a means of keeping fit during the winter months.
Derby County was founded as a branch of the Derbyshire County Cricket Club in ;  Aston Villa and Everton were both founded by members of church cricket teams.
SonyLIV is available available in all countries. However, some sports videos are blacked out in countries other than India due to broadcasting rights issue.
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Live streaming on the Pakistani version of website is available for free in Pakistan; while the global version CricketGateway.
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