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Questions about the sport of cricket.

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players. The game has parallels to American baseball, and derives from the same family of bat-and-ball games, but has many key differences in form and thus in gameplay.

Cricket is played in a symmetrical oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long "pitch", containing a "crease" at each end. Two sets of three sticks, each set called a "wicket", are set in the ground at each end of the pitch behind the creases. Across the top of each wicket lie horizontal pieces called bails. The ball used is composed of cork skinned with two half-spheres of leather, usually a dark red, and finished with three lines of white or yellow stitching parallel to the center seam. The bat used is made from laminated wood, flat on one side with a ridge along the back, slightly curved forward toward the tip, with maximum total length and width of 38"x4.25".

The two teams, or sides, take turns at batting and bowling (pitching); each turn batting is called an “innings” (always plural). Each side will have one or two innings in a match, depending on the prearranged duration of the match, the object being to score more runs during the allotted innings than the other team.

Play begins with the bowler (pitcher), who starts with the ball at the center of the pitch facing a batsman at one of the creases (there will be a second batsman behind him). The bowler will throw the ball with a straight arm in an overhand motion, so that it bounces once before reaching the crease. The bowler's objective is to hit the wickets with the ball, causing the bails to fall. If he does this, that batsman is dismissed or "put out", and when 10 of the 11 batsmen on the side have been dismissed, the innings are over and the teams switch roles. The bowler will throw six pitches in succession to one crease, called an "over", before turning around to deliver the next six to the opposite crease. There is usually no limit to how long two batsmen can play, however in the interest of time an "overs limit" can be imposed, where regardless of the number of batsmen dismissed or runs scored, the innings is over after a certain number of total pitches by the bowler.

The job of the batsmen is to defend the wickets and thus avoid being put out, and to score runs by safely hitting the ball into play in the surrounding field. To do this, the batsman will swing at the ball with the bat as it approaches. A number of basic swing styles are seen, typically grouped into offensive swings (similar to baseball style swings, trying to hit safely to score runs) and defensive swings (more a blocking motion similar to a bunt, to protect the wickets and avoid being put out). The batsman may only intentionally contact the ball with the bat; handling or blocking the ball with the body dismiss the batsman, though batsmen often wear protective padding to guard against errant throws. A ball is safely hit when it leaves the area of the pitch and bounces at least once on the ground without being caught in the air by a fielder. A fielder who catches the ball in the air dismisses the batsman who hit it with no runs scored, known as being "caught out".

When the ball is hit safely, the two batsmen can run between the creases, touching the crease with a hand, before turning and running to the opposite crease again. Each time the two batsmen "swap creases" this way, they score a run, worth a point. If the fielding team can get the ball back to the pitch by carrying or throwing it, the bowler or a wicket-keeper (a fielding player behind each wicket) may try to tag out a running batsman by touching him with the ball while he is not touching a crease (or if both players end up touching the same crease). A batsman may also score runs by hitting the ball out of the field of play, which is called a "boundary"; four runs are scored if the ball bounces before leaving the field, while six are scored if the ball leaves the field in the air.

The teams switch between batting and fielding at the end of an innings. In a Test match, each team has two innings, but in a One-Day International or Twenty20 International match each team has only one innings. After all allotted innings have been completed, the team with most runs scored wins. In case of a tie (which is less likely than in baseball but possible), extra innings, often with an overs limit, may be played until one team is ahead after a pair of innings.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the international governing body of cricket . But it is the MCC which revised the Laws of Cricket in 1788 and continues to reissue them (from time to time), and remains the copyright holder.

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