1. The match is played on an oval-shaped ground somewhat longer
and wider than a football field. At the center are two wickets
(sets of three wooden stumps), placed 22 yards apart. In front of
each wicket is a popping crease, or batsman's safety zone, which
measures roughly four by 12 feet.
2. Each team has 11 players: four main bowlers, four batsmen, two
all-rounders (players who both bat and bowl) and one wicketkeeper
(the equivalent of a catcher).
3. The batsmen face bowlers who alternate bowling "overs," which
consist of six playable balls. A bowler tries to hurl the ball
past a batsman and hit the wicket; if he succeeds, the batsman is
out. The batsman tries to hit the ball while protecting the
wicket. If a hit ball is caught on the fly, the batsman is out.
If the ball is not caught on the fly, the batsman can remain in
his crease or try to score runs.
4. A run is scored when a batsman hits the ball, and then he and
another batsman, who waits at the opposite crease, run across to
the other's crease. They may continue to score runs until the
ball is returned to the wicketkeeper or the bowler, or one of the
batsmen is stumped out (see Rule 5). Four runs are scored
automatically when the ball rolls to the outer boundary, and six
runs when it goes over the boundary on the fly.
5. A batsman hits until he is out. Besides being caught out or
being bowled out (his wicket is struck by the bowler), he can be
run out (his wicket is struck by the ball while he is out of his
crease trying to score a run), stumped out (he steps out of the
crease while trying to strike the ball) or called out for
deliberately blocking the ball with his body.
6. A game consists of two innings. In each innings one team's
batsmen face the other's bowlers, whose teammates are spread
about the ground as fielders. One innings consists of 50 overs or
300 playable bowled balls. --Richard Gibbs
For more cricket regulations, visit lords.org/cricket/laws.asp.
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY BOB MARTIN DEE-FENSE When a fast bowler such as Akhtar faces a masterbatsman such as Tendulkar (top), most fielders stand close to thecreases. (White spots show other common positions for fielders.)
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ILLUSTRATION BY SLIM FILMS DEE-FENSE When a fast bowler such as Akhtar faces a masterbatsman such as Tendulkar (top), most fielders stand close to thecreases. (White spots show other common positions for fielders.)