2009年8月27日 格林尼治标准时间17:01北京时间01:01

Sport: Cricket 体育: 板球

Stumps, Stones and Ashes 三根柱,石头和灰烬杯

When you hear the word ‘cricket’, what do you think of first?

A small, chirping insect? Or a summer sport between players in white trousers and woollen jerseys who stop for a 20-minute tea break in the afternoon?

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The chances are, if you’re in England, India or Australia, you’ll be thinking of the latter, where the sport is watched, played and adored by millions.

English cricket fans are currently rejoicing in their national side’s victory over Australia in a fiercely-contested competition called The Ashes last week.

But in many other parts of the world the sport is virtually unknown. Many outsiders are put off by its complicated laws, unintelligible terms (any idea what a googly or a grubber is?), and mind-boggling statistics.

With games that last for days or even weeks and scores that look more like share prices than sports results, how do we begin to understand this game?

An Australian batsman and English fielders

How many runs is that?

Well in its most basic form cricket is a bat and ball game, not unlike baseball in that it involves two teams of players: one batting and the other bowling and fielding. Like football, both teams have 11 players.

When bowling, the aim is to hit the wicket, while the batsman tries to defend it and hit the ball far away to win ‘runs’. If the bowler hits the wicket then the batsman is ‘out’, and the next one from the 11 in the batting team takes his place.

When they are ‘all out’ the batting side’s total runs are added up and the teams swap sides until the second side is also ‘all out’. Whoever has the most runs at the end wins.

Simple? Well, that’s just a taster. If you’re interested there’s a whole world of cricket out there, with its leg-before-wickets, silly mid-ons and doosras.

And if learning the finer points of cricket sounds like hungry work, you can always take comfort from the fact it’s the only sport where lunch and tea are formally included in the order of play.

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