After some painful months (although, some would say years) in the doldrums, Australian cricket may finally be on the way back to achieving our former glory. Our turning point was on Tuesday when Australia took an unassailable lead in the best of five Ashes Series with a win in Perth. The #returntheurn campaign succeeded.
We haven’t held the urn – the tiny, yet highly coveted Ashes prize – since our success in the 2006/7 series. I won’t explain the history of the actual Ashes urn as you can amuse, or frustrate, yourself with the banter on the post earlier this week.
I know some people say cricket is boring, but, as anyone who watched the recent Test matches in Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth will tell you, it can be very exciting. Edge of the seat stuff. Nail-biting. Nerve-wrecking. Electrifying. And, yes, it can convert a sporting cynic into a patriotic supporter.
To enjoy the competitiveness of the game, it helps to know the basics. So, when the ladies at the Mamamia office came knocking for an outline of some of the basics, I was happy to oblige.
Here’s some frequently used cricket terms explained to get you started…
An Over: the delivery of six consecutive balls by one bowler. A ‘maiden over’ is one in which no runs are scored.
Runs: are scored when each batter runs the length of the pitch at the same time (but in opposite directions), crossing over in the middle and then grounding their bat over the popping crease (which is the line the batter stands behind when facing a delivery). Whoever had hit the ball is the person who scores the run/s. Even though both players run, only one gets to have the runs recorded as part of their score.
A Single: one run.
A Four: happens when the ball is hit to the boundary of the oval by bouncing or running along the ground. Four runs are scored without the need for the batters to run. Sometimes, the boundary is the actual fence. Other times, there is a rope or triangular foam near the fence line that indicates the boundary line.
A Six: happens when the ball is hit over the boundary without bouncing. Again, there is no need for the batters to run up and down the pitch to score the six runs.
A Wicket: is achieved when a batter gets out. The umpire will extend their pointer finger and raise that arm up into the air to indicate the wicket has fallen. The batter then returns to the dressing room and the next one comes out to play. Each team has to get 10 wickets before the team is considered ‘out’ and then the team that was batting becomes the fielding team.
A Duck: is the name given to a batter’s score of zero.
A Golden Duck: is humiliating! It means the batter got out on the first ball faced, without scoring a run.