Rules of the Game


Cricket, often considered the national game of England, is a bat and ball game just like baseball. But the look of the game is very different.

The playing field is called a pitch. The cricket team has eleven players, made up of bowlers and batters. Batters defend a wicket, which is made up of three upright wooden stakes (stumps) hammered into the ground with two wooden crosspieces (bails) sitting in grooves on top of the stumps and linking the stumps together.

The goal of the game, like baseball, is to score more runs than the opposing team. A run is scored when a batter hits a ball, which is aimed at the wicket, with his bat and exchanges sides with another batter, who is standing at the opposite wicket. A batsman also scores runs when he hits a ball out of the boundary of the playing area.

Meanwhile, the bowler attempts to get the batter out by and pitching (bowling) a ball toward the wicket to "put down" the wicket by dislodging the bail from the top of the stumps or striking the stump out of the ground with the ball. A fielder may also put down the wicket by tagging it with his hand which has caught the ball. A batter can also be "caught out" when a fielder catches the ball on the fly. Another common out is "leg before wicket." That's when a batsman is hit by a ball which would have otherwise struck the stumps of the wicket.

Test matches are two-inning matches played over three to five days with each day consisting of at least six hours of play, while one-day cricket matches are usually played in one day, and can last six hours or longer. To attract spectators, Twenty20 matches were introduced in 2003, and last two and a half to three hours.

For more information on cricket, visit Lord's of London at