There are plenty of elements of cricket which can appear complicated to the uninitiated but the basic premise of the game is fairly simple.
There are 11 players on each side and the team who scores the most runs wins.
Bowlers bowl six balls in a row, known as overs, from alternate ends and batsman look to score as many runs as possible.
Four runs are scored when the ball crosses the boundary along the ground and six when it passes the boundary in the air.
Batsmen can be dismissed in a variety of ways. The most regular methods are:
Bowled – when the bowler bowls a ball which strikes the batsman’s stumps, dislodging the bails
Lbw – when the batsman is struck on the pads in front of the stumps and the ball is going on to hit the stumps
Caught – when the batsman hits the ball in the air to a fielder and the fielder makes a successful catch
Stumped – when the batsmen leaves his crease (an area near the stumps marked by a painted line) and the wicketkeeper removes the bails before he can get back
Run out – when a fielder throws down the stumps with the batsman attempting a run but failing to reach the crease
There are a series of rarer modes of dismissal, including timed out (when a batsman fails to enter the field of play for more than two minutes after the last batsman to get out had left the pitch), obstructing the field (when a batsman deliberately impedes a fielder), and hitting the ball twice (as it says on the tin, although it must be deliberate).
The team batting first – decided by the toss of a coin – will set a target and the team batting second will have to chase it.
There are three primary formats of elite cricket – first-class, 50-over and T20. A further two formats – T10 and 100-ball cricket – are beginning to become a presence.
In first-class cricket, usually played over four or five days, each team has two innings which are combined.
In all other variations of the sport, teams get one innings each. In first-class cricket, it is possible and fairly routine for games to end as a draw. In 50-over and T20 cricket, ties are much rarer. A cricket pitch is 22 yards (20.12 metres) long and around 10 feet (3.05m) wide.