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Source: The Book Of Sports
Category: CRICKET.

Cricket is the king of games. Every boy in England should learn it. The
young prince of Wales is learning it, and will some day be the prince of
cricket-players, as I trust he will some day, a long while hence,
however, let us hope, be king of merry England. I shall, therefore, be
very particular concerning this noble game. It is played by a bat and
ball, and consists of double and single wicket. The wicket was formerly
two straight thin batons, called stumps, twenty-two inches high, which
were fixed in the ground perpendicularly, six inches apart, and over
the top of both was laid a small round piece of wood, called the bail,
but so placed as to fall off readily if the stumps were touched by the
ball. Of late years the wicket consists of three stumps and two bails;
the middle stump is added to prevent the ball from passing through the
wicket without beating it down; the external stumps are now seven inches
apart, and all of them three feet two inches high. Single wicket
requires five players on each side, and double wicket eleven; but the
number in both instances may be varied at the pleasure of the two
parties. At single wicket the striker with his bat is the protector of
the wicket; the opponent party stands in the field to catch or stop the
ball; and the bowler, who is one of them, takes his place by the side of
a small baton or stump, set up for that purpose, twenty-two yards from
the wicket, and thence delivers the ball with the intention of beating
it down. It is now usual to set up two stumps with a bail across, which
the batsman, when he runs, must beat off before he returns home. If the
bowler prove successful, the batsman retires from the play and another
of his party succeeds; if, on the contrary, the ball is struck by the
bat, and driven into the field beyond the reach of those who stand out
to stop it, the striker runs to the stump at the bowler's station, which
he touches with his bat, and then returns to his wicket. If this be
performed before the ball is thrown back, it is called a run, and a
notch or score is made upon the tally towards the game; if, on the
contrary, the ball be thrown up and the wicket beaten down by the
opponent party before the striker is home or can ground his bat within
three feet ten inches of the wicket (at which distance a mark is made
in the ground, called the _popping crease_), he is declared to be out,
and the run is not reckoned. He is also out if he strike the ball into
the air and it is caught by any of his antagonists before it reaches the
ground, and retained long enough to be thrown up again. When double
wicket is played, two batsmen go in at the same time,--one at each
wicket: there are also two bowlers, who usually bowl four balls in
succession alternately. The batsmen are said to be in as long as they
remain at their wickets, and their party is called the _in-party_; on
the contrary, those who stand in the field with the bowlers, are called
the _out-party_. Both parties have two innings, and the side that
obtains the most runs in the double contest, claims the victory. These
are the general outlines of this noble pastime, but there are many
particular rules and regulations by which it is governed, and these
rules are subject to frequent variations.

Next: Single Wicket

Previous: Balancing

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