A country cricket match. ©Getty Images

A country cricket match. ©Getty Images

Cricket pitch and wickets

Cricket is played on a pitch with wickets at each end.

The pitch is a rectangular strip between the wickets. The wickets are made up of three 71.1 centimetre high wooden stumps, with two wooden bails across the top.

The game of cricket

A cricket match is between two teams of eleven players. Umpires at each end of the pitch make sure that the players obey the rules of the game.

The game begins with a coin toss and the winning captain chooses to bat or field. Two batters defend their wickets against the fielding team's bowlers.

When one batter hits the ball, each batter runs to the opposite wicket to score a run. If the batter hits the ball to the boundary, a four is scored, meaning four runs are scored without the batters having to run. A six is scored if the ball goes over the boundary 'on the full' or without touching the ground.

The bowler runs along and throws the ball. A batter is waiting at the other end, ready to hit the ball. ©Getty

The bowler runs along and throws the ball. A batter is waiting at the other end, ready to hit the ball. ©Getty

The bowler bowls a series of six deliveries, called an over. The bowler and the fielders try to get the batters out by knocking down the wicket with the ball, or by catching a hit ball. A batter is also out if the ball hits their pads while they are in front of their stumps; leg before wicket (LBW)

When a player is out, another player takes their place. The game continues until ten batters are out, which is the end of an innings. Then the opposing team has its innings.

The team that scores the most runs wins.

History of cricket

Cricket-like games, called club ball and stool ball, were played in England more than 500 years ago. In club ball, a batter used a stick to hit a leather-covered ball. In stool ball, a stool was used as a wicket. The bowler tried to hit the stool with the ball and the batter hit the ball using a bare hand.

Today, international cricket is controlled by the International Cricket Council (ICC). These countries play international cricket: England, Australia, West Indies, South Africa, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Read about the rules of cricket and how to play the game: