cricketlike, adj.
/krik"it/, n.
1. any of several jumping, orthopterous insects of the family Gryllidae, characterized by long antennae and stridulating organs on the forewings of the male, as one of the species commonly found in pastures and meadows (field cricket) or on trees and shrubs (tree cricket).
2. a small metal toy with a flat metal spring that snaps back and forth with a clicking, cricketlike noise when pressed.
[1275-1325; ME criket insect < OF criquet, equiv. to criqu(er) to creak (imit.) + -et -ET]
cricketer, n.
/krik"it/, n.
1. a game, popular esp. in England, for two teams of 11 members each that is played on a field having two wickets 22 yards (20 m) apart, the object being to score runs by batting the ball far enough so that one is enabled to exchange wickets with the batsman defending the opposite wicket before the ball is recovered.
2. fair play; honorable conduct: It wouldn't be cricket to look at his cards.
3. to play cricket.
[1590-1600; < MF criquet goal post, perh. < early D krick(e) arm, crosspiece, gallows]
/krik"it/, n.
a small, low stool.
[1635-45; of obscure orig.; cf. cracket, with same sense]
/krik"it/, n.
(on a sloping roof) a small roof for diverting rain water around an obstruction, as a chimney.
[of uncert. orig.]

* * *

(from Middle French criquet, "goal stake") Game played by two teams with a ball and bat on a large field centring on two wickets.

Each wicket is two sets of three sticks. The teams have 11 players each. A bowler from the defending team throws the ball (with a straight-arm overhand delivery), attempting to hit the wicket, which is one of several ways the batsman may be put out. The team batting fields two batsman at a time, and the batsman being bowled to (the striker) tries to hit the ball away from the wicket. If the batsman hits the ball away from the wicket but has no time to run to the opposite wicket, he need not run; play will resume with another bowl. After a hit, when possible, the striker and the second batsman (the nonstriker) at the other wicket change places. Each time both batsmen can reach the opposite wicket, one run is scored. The batsmen may continue to cross back and forth between the wickets, earning an additional run for each time both reach the opposite side. Matches are divided into innings consisting of one turn at bat for each team; depending on pregame agreement, a match may consist of either one or two innings. Cricket's origins are uncertain, but the first set of rules was written in 1744. During England's colonial era, cricket was exported to countries around the world.
Any of the approximately 2,400 species of leaping insects (family Gryllidae) known for the musical chirping of the male.

Crickets vary in length from around 0.1 to 2 in. (3–50 mm) and have thin antennae, hind legs modified for jumping, and two abdominal sensory appendages (cerci). Their two forewings are stiff and leathery, and the two long, membranous hind wings are used in flying. Male crickets chirp by rubbing a scraper located on one forewing along a row of 50–250 teeth on the opposite forewing. The most common cricket songs are the calling song, which attracts the female; the courtship, or mating, song, which induces the female to copulate; and the fighting chirp, which repels other males.

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▪ 2009

      International cricket reached a turning point in 2008 as the top cricketers saw wealth beyond belief flow into the game and into their pockets. The main agent of change was the Indian Premier League (IPL), a city-based competition for 20/20 cricket (the shortened 20-overs-a-side version of the game). The new IPL attracted rich owners, massive television revenue, and the majority of the world's best players to the 45-day tournament held across India in April and May.

      The year also witnessed the strange spectacle of Allen Stanford, a cricket-loving Antigua-based American billionaire, arriving at Lord's Cricket Ground by helicopter on June 12 to offer the England Cricket Board (ECB) a “winner take all” 20/20 match between England and a West Indian All Stars XI for prize money of £10 million (£1 = about $2). For some, notably the players, the influx of big money was welcomed, but others were fearful of the impact of 20/20 on the future of Test cricket. The rest of the world rushed to tap into the new audiences and potential new markets opened up by the success of the IPL. A Champions League tournament for the 20/20 champions of England and Wales, India, South Africa, and Australia was launched, also with vast prize money. For the 2010 season England created its own version of the IPL, based on counties rather than cities, and there was even talk of 20/20 cricket's becoming an Olympic sport by 2020.

      In a frenetic 10-hour bidding contest, held at the Hilton Towers Hotel in Mumbai (Bombay) on February 20, the world's top players were auctioned to bidders from the eight franchises. There were several surprises. The top price was the £770,095 paid by the Chennai (Madras) Super Kings (owned by India Cements) for the big-hitting Indian wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In contrast, the Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, by common consent the best batsman in the world, commanded a fee of only £205,610. To add to the Hollywood-style glamour, owners, who paid between £34 million and £57 million for their franchises, included Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan (the Kolkata [Calcutta] Knight Riders) and actress Preity Zinta (the Mohali Kings). Broadcast rights for the IPL commanded the highest fee of all: £500 million for 10 years. In the end, the tournament was won—in a three-wicket victory over Chennai on June 1—by the Rajasthan Royals (captained by Australian bowler Shane Warne), which was, at a mere £34 million, the least expensive of the eight franchises.

      The IPL presented problems to the cricketing authorities elsewhere in the world. England's players, all centrally contracted to the ECB, were not allowed to play in the inaugural IPL because of other international commitments. New Zealand banned fast bowler Shane Bond for having taken part in another 20/20 tournament in India. It soon became clear, however, that money would talk louder than national pride, and by year's end attempts were being made to regularize the international calendar to allow players to take part in the IPL in 2009. The long-term danger for the game was that the next generation of young cricketers, particularly in Asia, would grow up playing only 20/20 cricket and the subtle skills of Test cricket, which had survived for more than a century, would be lost.

      The contrast between the IPL, with packed crowds and glitzy presentation, and some of the year's Test cricket was depressing for the purists. Australia and West Indies played out an enthralling Test series in front of empty stands, and even in India and Pakistan, the new financial powerhouses of the game, Test cricket was in danger of becoming an irrelevant sideshow. Australia completed a record-tying 16th consecutive Test victory, against India in Sydney in a four-match Test series marred by ill feeling. Indian spin bowler Harbhajan Singh was banned for three matches for allegedly having made a racist comment to Australian batsman Andrew Symonds; the ban was later overturned and the penalty reduced to a fine. The Indian players were so incensed by the punishment that they threatened to go home without finishing the tour. Common sense prevailed, however, and Australia won the series 2–1 to maintain its standing at the top of the game, even without Warne and Glenn McGrath, both of whom had retired from Test play in 2007. South Africa, strongly led by Graeme Smith and with two emerging pace bowlers in Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, recorded its first victory in a Test series in England since 1965. After the defeat in the Third Test, Michael Vaughan, the England captain, resigned and was replaced by South African-born batsman Kevin Pietersen, who led England to victory in the final Test of the series and to a resounding 5–0 win in the one-day internationals.

      High points during the 2007–08 season included the return of Test cricket to Galle, an area of southern Sri Lanka devastated by the December 2004 tsunami. Sri Lankan spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan took a record 709th Test wicket, and Anil Kumble of India passed 600 Test wickets. In a match for South Africa against Bangladesh, Smith and Neil McKenzie shared a world-record opening stand of 415. Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka became the first batsman in Test history to record innings of more than 150 runs in four consecutive Tests. Meanwhile, two great international players, Adam Gilchrist of Australia and Shaun Pollock of South Africa, retired.

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2008

       Test cricket was naturally curtailed by two International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cups in 2007. The original 50-over version, held in the West Indies in April, was retained by two-time defending champion Australia (see Sidebar (2007 Cricket World Cup )), while the inaugural Twenty20 model was won by India, the least-experienced of all the teams in that shortened form of the one-day game. The year marked the end of an era in Australian and world cricket with the retirements of Shane Warne, then the highest wicket taker in Test history, and of Glenn McGrath (McGrath, Glenn Donald ), one of cricket's most consistent and prolific fast bowlers. The pair formed the backbone of their country's decadelong domination of the world game; they retired with 1,271 wickets—Warne with 708 (at an average of 25.41) and McGrath with 563 (average 21.64). With Brian Lara, the brilliant West Indian batsman, also announcing his retirement after the World Cup, the international game lost three of its most charismatic players within the space of four months.

 The most eagerly anticipated Test series in the 2006–07 season proved to be an anticlimax, at least to England supporters, who thought that their team would put up a fight to retain the Ashes urn, the symbolic trophy contested by England and Australia. To the delight of Australian fans, however, revenge for the team's Ashes defeat in 2005 was swift and brutal. Australia, brilliantly led by Ricky Ponting, won the first three Tests to regain the Ashes and completed the first five-game whitewash in the series since 1920–21. Both Warne and McGrath were central to the crushing defeat of England, which was led by stand-in captain and 2005 hero Andrew Flintoff. Ponting was the dominant batsman in the series, and Stuart Clarke, who took 26 wickets, was the most productive bowler. Only in the second Test in Adelaide did England put up a serious fight, with Paul Collingwood scoring a double century and Kevin Pietersen, England's South African-born batsman, making 158 runs. Warne worked his magic on the final day, however, and England lost the match to go down 2–0 in the series. By the last Test in Sydney, in which Warne, McGrath, and the Australian opening batsman, Justin Langer, were all playing their farewell Test, England was not just beaten but demoralized.

       Mohammed Yousuf of Pakistan also enjoyed a prolific year, scoring 1,788 runs in 2006 to break the record for the number of runs scored in a calendar year set in 1976 by West Indian Viv Richards. Yousuf began his career as Yousuf Youhana, a talented middle-order batsman most famous for being the only Christian on the Pakistan side until he converted to Islam. In the subsequent two years he had almost doubled his Test average and become one of the mainstays of a formidable Pakistan batting lineup. Yousuf's nine centuries during the year included four in five innings against the West Indies, for which Lara hit the ninth double century of his career.

      Pakistan beat the West Indies at home but lost in South Africa in a fractious series that was marred by a racist outburst by South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs against a section of Pakistan supporters during the first Test in Centurion. The tirade was picked up by a microphone on the field, and Gibbs was banned for two matches. Pakistan recovered in the second Test in Port Elizabeth to level the series 1–1 but lost the final Test in Cape Town on a difficult pitch. South African bowler Makhaya Ntini took 19 wickets (average 18.68) in the series and passed the 300-wicket career mark. India also lost to South Africa but recovered to claim its first series victory in England since 1986. Ably led by Rahul Dravid, India found a bowler of real penetration in Zaheer Khan, a left-armer who swung the ball prodigiously in propitious conditions and took 18 wickets (average 20.33). Khan was also at the centre of the “jelly bean” incident, when he complained that the England fielders had scattered candy on the pitch during the second Test. There were several heated exchanges between the players, and both sides were warned about their behaviour.

      The achievement of the first ICC World Twenty20, held in South Africa in front of good crowds, and the growing popularity of the all-action 20-overs-a-side game worldwide prompted debate about the future of the more traditional one-day internationals (played over 100 overs) and five-day Test cricket. Many observers thought that the successful Twenty20 tournament, which culminated in India's narrow five-run victory over Pakistan in the final on September 24, could herald a significant shift in the structure of one-day cricket.

      In domestic cricket in England, Sussex just beat Lancashire to the county championship after a thrilling finish on the last day of the season, while Durham won the one-day trophy, the first in its 15-year history, and finished as runner-up in the championship. Tasmania won the Pura Cup in Australia for the first time with a 421-run victory over New South Wales in the final. Queensland secured the one-day cup. The South Africa Supersport series was won by the Titans.

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2007

      The troubled 2005–06 cricket season ended with the first forfeited Test match in the history of the game and two Pakistan players testing positive for drugs.

 In the fourth Test at the Oval in London in August, Pakistan refused to take the field on the fourth afternoon of the match after having been given a five-run penalty by the umpires, Darrell Hair of Australia and Billy Doctrove of the West Indies. The Pakistan bowlers were accused of deliberately altering the condition of the ball during play, potentially making it easier to take wickets. After lengthy high-level discussions with officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq did not lead his team back onto the pitch after the tea interval and thus automatically forfeited the match under Law 21.3 of the International Cricket Council (ICC) laws of cricket. The timing of the incident could not have been worse, with tensions already running high in Muslim communities after recent terrorist alerts in England, and the spectre of racism surfaced quickly in allegations against Hair, who had always been a controversial figure in South Asia. Never before in 129 years and 1,814 matches of Test cricket had a match been ended by a forfeit. For a sport just recovering its moral authority after the match-fixing scandal six years earlier, this was another unwanted crisis.

      Inzamam, a brilliant batsman and a highly respected figure in the game, was charged by the ICC with changing the condition of the ball and bringing the game into disrepute. The whole of Pakistan expressed a sense of injustice, including Pres. Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan threatened to withdraw from the tour of England without playing its scheduled one-day series, but a disciplinary tribunal was postponed until the end of September, allowing tempers to cool.

      Although Hair was an experienced umpire in world cricket, he was best known for no-balling Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing in 1995. Hair did not help his cause by offering to stand down from the elite panel of Test umpires in return for a one-off payment of $500,000. The e-mail correspondence relating to this offer was released to the media by the ICC, which left Hair embarrassed and isolated. His effigy was burned on the streets of Islamabad, Pak.

      When the tribunal was convened in London in September, Inzamam was found not guilty of ball tampering but was banned for four one-day internationals for bringing the game into disrepute. The irony was that the four-match series had been a triumphant advertisement for cricket's diversity. At Leeds, England was bowled to victory by Monty Panesar, a Sikh left-arm spinner born in England, and Sajid Mahmood, a British Muslim. Mohammad Yousuf, Pakistan's most prolific batsman and one of the Wisden Almanack's Players of the Year, had been the only Christian in the Pakistan side before he converted to Islam and changed his name from Yousuf Youhana.

      Without its two best bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, Pakistan had already lost the series 2–0 before the start of the Oval test, despite some spectacular batting by Yousuf and Younis Khan. Shoaib, one of the fastest bowlers in the world, was fit enough to return for the one-day series in England but tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid Nandrolone just before the start of the Champions Trophy, the one-day international tournament in India won by Australia. Mohammad Asif also tested positive, and both were sent home to face a lengthy ban, which left Pakistan cricket in the throes of another major controversy.

      On the field Brian Lara of the West Indies became the leading run scorer in Test cricket when his innings of 226 against Australia in Adelaide took him past former Australia captain Allan Border's total of 11,174 Test runs. In Colombo, Sri Lanka, in the first Test against South Africa, Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara added 624 for the third wicket, a world record for Test cricket. Ashwell Prince replaced the injured Graeme Smith to become South Africa's first black captain. The South African tour was abandoned, however, after a bomb exploded near the tourists' hotel in Colombo.

       Australia, brilliantly led by Ricky Ponting (Ponting, Ricky ) (see Biographies), once again proved to be the best team through the 2005–06 season, winning 10 of its 11 Tests and topping South Africa, West Indies, and, after a terrible scare in the opening Test, Bangladesh. England stuttered to a draw against a revived Sri Lankan side at home and lost to Pakistan away but gained a creditable draw against India, which also recorded its first victory in the West Indies in 35 years. At season's end Ponting, the ICC Player of the Year, was at the top of the world rankings, followed by Rahul Dravid of India and Pakistan's Yousuf and Younis.

      In English domestic cricket, Sussex won both the county championship and the C&G Trophy. In Australia, Queensland captured the Pura Cup, and New South Wales took the ING one-day cup. The West Indies domestic honours went to Trinidad and Tobago (the Carib Beer Cup) and Guyana (the KFC one-day trophy). The Titans (in the Supersport Series) and Eagles (in the Standard Bank Cup) won in South Africa. The new form of 20/20 cricket also gained in popularity at both the international and the domestic level.

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2006

      In 2005 England outplayed Australia in an enthralling five-match Test series to end 16 years of defeat by its oldest cricketing foe and regain possession of the small but symbolic Ashes urn. England recovered from losing the first Test at Lord's by 239 runs to win the second Test by just two runs and then failed by one wicket to win the third Test as Australia's last pair of batsmen, Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath, survived the final 24 balls of the match to eke out a draw. Needing 129 runs to win the fourth Test, England collapsed to 116 for 7 before Ashley Giles scored the winning runs. Never in the 128-year history of Test cricket had three consecutive matches produced such thrilling finishes. Australia had to win the final Test at the Oval to tie the series and retain the Ashes, but some timely rain and a second-innings score of 158 by Kevin Pietersen, England's South African-born batsman, on the final day earned the draw that took the Ashes trophy back to its spiritual home. There was national rejoicing, and the England team, led by captain Michael Vaughan and inspired by Andrew (“Freddie”) Flintoff, was feted in a parade through the streets of London. A set of special postage stamps was issued to commemorate the historic victory. To cap an unforgettable summer, England's women cricketers also won back the Ashes after a gap of 42 years.

      Flintoff, England's Ashes Player of the Series, scored 402 runs, including a century, at an average of 40.20 and took 24 wickets (average 27.29), easily the most effective all-round contribution from either side. Pietersen, in his first Test series, was the leading run scorer with 473, and Marcus Trescothick, who had been a conspicuous failure in Australia two years before, erased those memories with 431 runs. England outperformed Australia in every department, batted more solidly, and with a battery of four fast bowlers (Stephen Harmison, Flintoff, Simon Jones, and Matthew Hoggard) bowled more aggressively.

      Australia's resistance was led by Shane Warne, who during the third Test became the first bowler to pass 600 wickets in Test cricket and ended the series with 40 wickets (average 19.92). Only a brilliant innings of 156 runs by captain Ricky Ponting staved off defeat in the third Test, while at times it seemed that only Warne's genius as a leg spinner stood between England and certain victory. Ironically, Warne dropped the decisive catch in the fifth Test that would have put Pietersen out when he had scored just 15 runs. Justin Langer was the top scorer for Australia, with 394 runs, and McGrath took 19 wickets (including match figures of 9 for 82 at Lord's) despite having missed two Tests through injury. McGrath and Warne, both age 35, left the Oval to a standing ovation at the end of their final Tests in England.

      Despite the Ashes loss, Australia ended the 2004–05 season as officially the best team in the world, with England second. Only India came close, though its first home series against Pakistan in five years ended in stalemate. After a drawn first Test, Rahul Dravid scored a century in both innings to help India win the second. Younis Khan replied with innings of 267 and 84 not out to bring Pakistan level in the third Test. Sourav Ganguly, the Indian captain, was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for six matches for having deliberately slowed down the over rate in the one-day series between the two countries.

       South Africa lost narrowly to England at home, but in Jacques Kallis the South Africans had one of the game's most consistent all-rounders. The decline of West Indies cricket continued, though the side, captained by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, managed to draw against Pakistan and Brian Lara became the fourth batsman—after Australia's Steve Waugh and India's Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar—to beat Sir Don Bradman's record of 29 Test centuries.

      In Sri Lanka the December 2004 tsunami devastated the country's prettiest cricket ground at Galle and took the lives of a generation of young cricketers in the area. On the day the tsunami struck, a local representative side and a touring team from England's Harrow School were about to play a match at Galle. Both teams escaped by climbing to the top of the pavilion. To the dismay of the cricketing community, the authorities announced that they might not restore Galle but rather intended to build a new ground farther from the sea. Not surprisingly, the Sri Lankan players had little appetite for the game in 2005 and lost in New Zealand before beating both West Indies and Bangladesh. Zimbabwe's political troubles continued to blight its cricket team, which suffered a series of humiliating defeats, including a loss to South Africa in less than two days. It seemed only a matter of time before the ICC withdrew Zimbabwe's Test status.

      In English domestic cricket, Nottinghamshire won the county championship, Hampshire took the one-day knockout trophy, Essex gained the one-day league title, and Somerset secured the Twenty20 Cup. In the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago won the one-day President's Cup, and Jamaica captured the Carib Beer Cup. A reorganization of the regional structure in South Africa brought victory for the Eagles, one of six new franchises, in the one-day Standard Bank Cup and a share of the SuperSport Series for the Eagles and the Dolphins. Tasmania (in the ING one-day cup) and New South Wales (in the Pura Cup) took the domestic honours in Australia.

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2005

      In the 2003–04 season—a year that was marked by two individual Test records, by Matthew Hayden of Australia and Brian Lara of the West Indies, and a revival in England's fortunes—cricket found itself at the centre of political controversy off the field in Zimbabwe. By the end of the summer season, Zimbabwe's cricket was mirroring the chaos evident elsewhere in the country, with 15 of the top players boycotting the international side to protest the corruption and increasing politicization of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) under Zimbabwean Pres. Robert Mugabe.

      The row was sparked by the replacement of the experienced Heath Streak as captain of Zimbabwe by the black 20-year-old wicket-keeper, Tatenda Taibu, in April. The white players in the squad regarded the move as politically motivated, and led by Streak (whose father, a farmer, had been imprisoned by the government), they withdrew from the two-Test series against Sri Lanka. A scratch side was raised that was no better than club standard, with inevitable consequences, and Zimbabwe was beaten heavily in both Tests. Officials of the ZCU, under pressure from the International Cricket Council (ICC), canceled two Tests against Australia (the world champions). England, which had refused to play in Harare, Zimb., for security reasons during the 2003 World Cup, toured Zimbabwe late in the year for a series of five one-day internationals, though at least two of the England players had declined to tour.

      In contrast, India's first tour of Pakistan in 14 years showed cricket's ability to overcome political divisions. The three Tests and five one-day internationals passed without incident, and India narrowly won both series in a flurry of brilliant cricket and evident goodwill. India, led by Sourav Ganguly and wisely coached by John Wright of New Zealand, laid claim to being the most attractive side in international cricket, more than matching its host in an enthralling drawn series in Australia. That series marked the retirement from international cricket of Australian captain Steve Waugh. In Waugh's final Test, a double century by Sachin Tendulkar laid the base for an enormous Indian total, and though Waugh made 80 in his final Test innings, Australia was always batting to save rather than win the game. In October all of Australia bade farewell to the legendary all-rounder Keith Miller, who died at age 84. (See Obituaries.)

      Under the leadership of Michael Vaughan, England recorded an unprecedented seven consecutive Test victories at home—four against the West Indies and three against New Zealand—after winning three out of four Tests in the West Indies. Steve Harmison proved to be a bowler of real pace and bounce, while Andrew Flintoff began to justify the extravagant claims made for his talent. Harmison took 7 for 12 as the West Indies was bowled out for 47 in the first Test in Jamaica, and he ended that series with 23 wickets at an average of 14.86. In the final Test of the series, in Antigua in April, Lara became the first batsman in Test history to score 400 runs. Almost 10 years to the day since he had beaten Sir Garfield Sobers's record of 365 on the same ground, the gifted West Indies captain took just under 13 hours to break the record set by Hayden, who had flayed a second-rate Zimbabwean attack for 380 in Perth, Australia, in October 2003. Lara's record could not, however, hide the dearth of talent and poverty of spirit in West Indies cricket. The one ray of hope came in mid-September when, in conditions of near darkness, Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw guided the West Indies to victory in the ICC Champions Trophy in England, for the side's first international trophy in 20 years.

      The battle between Shane Warne of Australia and Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka to become the leading Test wicket-taker was no less competitive. Warne, a leg-spinner, returned from a drug-related suspension in February and reached the milestone of 500 wickets on March 12, the final day of the first Test in Sri Lanka, and Murali (as Muralitharan was widely known), a less-orthodox but equally controversial off-spinner, achieved the same feat on March 16, the first day of the second Test in the same series. Both men ended the season with 527 wickets each, breaking the previous record of 519 set by former West Indian fast bowler Courtney Walsh. Not for the first time, Murali's bowling action was reported to the ICC for further investigation after allegations that he threw rather than bowled a new type of delivery, nicknamed the “doosra,” in which the ball turns away from a right-handed batsman. Murali was advised not to bowl that type of ball in Tests, until a new, more tolerant law on throwing was passed by the ICC in November.

      Pakistan had a disappointing year with a new captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and a young team. Sri Lanka was overpowered by Australia but came back to rout South Africa in the second of a two-Test series, with Kumar Sangakkara making his second double century of the year. Bangladesh, the newest Test-playing nation, continued to struggle and lost four of its six Tests.

      In domestic cricket in England, Warwickshire won the county championship, Gloucestershire the one-day C&G Trophy, and Leicestershire the Twenty20 Cup (the 20-over-a-side tournament that, in its second season, lured a crowd of over 25,000 to Lord's). Victoria won Australia's Pura Cup, and Western Australia took the one-day ING Cup. Eastern Province beat Gauteng in the final of the Supersport Series Shield in South Africa, while Gauteng gained revenge in the one-day Standard Bank Cup. Barbados and Guyana were champions in the West Indies, and Pakistan won the Under-19 World Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2004

      The World Cup was the highlight of the 2002–03 cricket season, though the tournament was marred by political controversy and the suspension of Australian leg spinner Shane Warne for a drugs offense. (See Sidebar (2003 Cricket World Cup ).) Australia, the hot pretournament favourite, led by captain Ricky Ponting, ended another year of domination in both one-day and Test cricket.

      Under the leadership of Steve Waugh, Australia won 12 of its 14 Tests through the 2002–03 season, including a 4–1 Ashes series win at home against England; it was the eighth consecutive Ashes victory for Australia, marking the most prolonged period of supremacy by either side in the oldest of all cricketing rivalries. Australia's success, once again, was based on the speed of its run making—with Matthew Hayden, Ponting, and Adam Gilchrist leading the way with some destructive hitting—and the variety of its bowling attack. The sustained pace of Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie, the accurate fast-medium bowling of Glenn McGrath, and the consummate leg spin of Warne sustained a growing belief that the 2003 Australian team was the best of all time.

      England did not help its own cause. On the opening morning of the first Test, held in Brisbane, captain Nasser Hussain won the toss and elected to put the Australians in to bat. Australia was 364 for 2 at the close of play on the first day, and, though England fought back, the psychological balance of the series had already swung decisively in favour of the home team. England lost the first Test by 384 runs and after just 11 days of Test cricket had lost the next two Tests and the Ashes urn once again.

      England had to console itself with the individual performance of Michael Vaughan, who completed a memorable international season by scoring 633 runs (average 63.3), including three centuries, the highest aggregate total on either side. England won the last Test in Sydney, but the unequal struggle seemed to drain the life out of Hussain. After the drawn first Test against South Africa in the summer, he resigned from the captaincy and was replaced by Vaughan.

      In a year of modest Test cricket often played on poorly prepared pitches, one match stood out. Having lost the first three Tests of its series against Australia, a young West Indies side reached 418 for 7 to win the fourth Test in Antigua; this was a record total for a fourth innings in Test cricket. Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul both made centuries, which augured well for the recovery of a once-proud cricketing side, but the series was marred by some ugly on-field confrontations between Brian Lara, Sarwan, McGrath, and Hayden. This later led the Australians, the chief culprits in the spread of sledging (systematic verbal abuse of the batsmen), to adopt a written code of conduct for the 2003–04 season.

      After its disappointing early exit from the World Cup, South Africa chose 22-year-old Graeme Smith to replace Shaun Pollock as captain, a dramatic move designed to usher South African cricket into a new era after the traumas of the match-fixing allegations and the death in 2002 of disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje. Smith proved a resilient leader and, in the opening two Tests in England, an inspired opening batsman. Strong and unorthodox, the left-hander bludgeoned England for two double centuries (277 and 259) in successive Tests, the latter surpassing Sir Don Bradman as the highest score by an overseas player at Lord's. Makhaya Ntini, the leader of a vibrant new generation of black South African cricketers, took 10 wickets in the second Test to secure England's defeat by an innings, a less-than-auspicious start to Vaughan's captaincy. England fought back to level the series 1–1 and, after losing the fourth match, won the final Test at the Oval with a double century from Marcus Trescothick (219) and 124 from the recalled Graham Thorpe in easily the most enthralling and competitive Test series of the year.

      The West Indies showed signs of revival with Lara restored to the captaincy, but Pakistan, India, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka were all in varying stages of transition both on and off the field, while Zimbabwe's cricket reflected the fragility of a country in political turmoil and Bangladesh, the most recent Test-playing nation, lost all 11 of its Test matches, 7 of them by an innings. The one personal feat of note came from Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, who took his 450th Test wicket against New Zealand with his unorthodox spin. (See Biographies (Muralitharan, Muttiah ).)

      In domestic cricket a new 20-over-a-side floodlit competition was launched in England and proved a great success, particularly among a younger age group. The inaugural competition was won by Surrey. The county championship was won by Sussex for the first time in the county's history, while Gloucestershire won the one-day C&G Trophy. In Australia, New South Wales completed the double, winning the Pura Cup for four-day cricket and the ING one-day tournament.

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2003

      The power struggle within cricket reached new levels in 2001–02. In November 2001 former England captain Mike Denness, the match referee for the South Africa–India series, suspended one Indian player, Virender Sehwag (for excessive appealing), and disciplined five others, including Indian hero Sachin Tendulkar (for ball tampering), after an ill-tempered second Test in Port Elizabeth, S.Af. The Indian team was outraged by the accusations and demanded the removal of Denness as match referee for the third Test. The International Cricket Council (ICC) refused, and with the support of the United Cricket Board in South Africa, which was worried about offending India, the third “test” was declared “unofficial” and went ahead without the sanction of the game's authorities. When the Indian authorities threatened to play the banned Sehwag in the first Test against England, it seemed possible that England's tour of India would be canceled, but the tour went ahead. In May New Zealand cut short its tour of Pakistan and canceled the second Test in Karachi after a bomb exploded outside the team's hotel; Australia threatened to cancel its October tour of Pakistan unless the matches were played elsewhere.

      On the field three explosive double centuries in the space of three weeks rewrote the record books. In February, in the first Test in Johannesburg, S.Af., Adam Gilchrist of Australia flailed the South African attack for an unbeaten 204 scored off 212 balls, the fastest in history. Less than a month later, in the first Test against England in Christchurch, N.Z., Nathan Astle of New Zealand broke Gilchrist's record by scoring 222 from 168 balls, an astonishing innings that eclipsed England's Graham Thorpe's score of 200 off 231 balls in the same match.

      The outbreak of sustained hitting was indicative of the year's Test cricket, which saw only 14 of 51 official Tests end in a draw. Following the lead of the Australians, who ended the year as undisputed champions again, and influenced by the quick tempo of one-day international cricket, Test sides looked to score their runs at a breakneck pace and give their bowlers time to complete the victory. The exception was England's winter tour of India, which ended in a 1–0 victory for the home side and heavy criticism for the negative bowling tactics of England captain Nasser Hussain. The same countries fought out a 1–1 drawn series in the summer in England, notable for the exceptional batting of Michael Vaughan for England and Rahul Dravid for India. In the last match of that series, Tendulkar reached the milestone of his 100th Test.

      In March England's tour of New Zealand was marred by the news of the death of 24-year-old Ben Hollioake, one of England's most talented young players, in a car crash near Perth, Australia. On June 1 the entire cricket world was stunned by the death of former South African captain Wessel Johannes (“Hansie”) Cronje (see Obituaries (Cronje, Wessel Johannes )) in a small-plane crash.

      In the defining home and away Test series of the year, Australia routed South Africa 5–1. Australia, led by Steve Waugh, had surprisingly failed to beat New Zealand in a home series, but with Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer forming a formidable opening partnership and bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne recovering their poise, the Aussies proved far too strong for a disappointing South African side. Warne marked his 100th Test by bowling a marathon 98 overs and taking 8 for 231. He also became only the fourth player—after Richard Hadlee of New Zealand, Kapil Dev of India, and Pakistan's Wasim Akram—to complete the double of 2,000 runs and 400 wickets in Test cricket.

      West Indies had a disappointing year, losing heavily to Sri Lanka and Pakistan—a series exiled to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates because of the political situation in Pakistan—before returning home to beat India. Defeat at home by New Zealand, a result utterly unthinkable a decade earlier, merely reflected the decline of a once-dominant cricketing nation. In contrast, Sri Lanka confirmed its rise to prominence with convincing victories over Zimbabwe and West Indies. Muttiah Muralitharan, the unorthodox Sri Lankan spinner, took 30 wickets in three Tests against Zimbabwe at an average of 9.8 runs conceded, becoming only the second spinner—and at 29 the youngest—to reach 400 wickets.

      In the ICC one-day Champions Trophy in September, Pakistan's Shoaib Malik became the first batsman to be dismissed leg before wicket on the basis of a television replay and the adjudication of the third umpire. Many thought it merely a matter of time before the influence of the camera on umpires' decision making became more widespread, and an experiment in Test cricket was expected before the end of the 2002–03 season.

      In domestic cricket Surrey won the county championship in England for the third time in four years, Yorkshire won the one-day C&G Cup. In Australia, Queensland won the Pura Cup final for the third time in succession, while Guyana drew with Jamaica in the final of the Busta International Shield, winning the trophy on first innings. In South Africa, KwaZulu/Natal did the double, winning the SuperSport series final and the one-day Standard Bank Cup. Australia beat South Africa in the final of the Under-19 World Cup, and a new international cricket venue was unveiled in Tangier, Mor.

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2002

      On Feb. 25, 2001, cricket lost its most famous player. Sir Don Bradman, who was recognized throughout the world as the supreme batsman in the game, died at the age of 92, and Australia mourned. Had Bradman not been out for 0 in the very last of his 80 Test innings, he might have stretched his final average of 99.94 beyond 100. (See Obituaries (Bradman, Sir Donald George ).)

      The morning following the news, the Australian team, led by Steve Waugh, stood to observe a minute's silence before the first Test against India in Mumbai (Bombay). The match proved to be the last in a record-breaking sequence of 16 straight Australian victories stretching back almost two years. Australia's only series defeat of the 2000–01 season came after a remarkable turnaround in the second Test in Kolkata (Calcutta), in which V.V.S. Laxman's innings of 281 allowed the home team to become only the third in Test history to win after following on its first innings. The decisive Test in Chennai (Madras) was as dramatic a game of cricket as any in the year as India scrambled home to victory by two wickets. The young Indian off spinner Harbhajan Singh took 15 wickets in the match and 32 in the series, including a hat trick.

      The standard of Australia's cricket helped to divert attention away from the issue of match fixing, which continued to dog the sport. The dismissed Pakistan coach, Javed Miandad, openly hinted that his players had fixed matches during the one-day series against New Zealand, and the Pakistan Cricket Board appointed a judge to look into allegations that Pakistan fixed a defeat against Bangladesh in the 1999 World Cup. An interim report of the independent commission chaired by Sir Paul Condon, the former chief commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London and the recently appointed head of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit, highlighted the difficulty in proving allegations against individuals and teams. The report suggested that the proliferation of one-day internationals, particularly in neutral venues such as Ash-Shariqah, U.A.E., had encouraged a more relaxed attitude to betting and match fixing. It also touched on possible links to organized crime and referred to a kidnapping and a murder linked to match fixing. The report was widely criticized for lacking proper jurisdiction or authority and for not being thorough enough in interviewing players accused of taking money from bookmakers. The commission's recommendations included more stringent contracts for players, better security (including fewer mobile phones in dressing rooms), and wider powers for the Anti-Corruption Unit. In October a court in South Africa upheld the lifetime ban imposed on Wessel Johannes (“Hansie”) Cronje, the former South African captain, whose admission that he had taken money from an Indian bookmaker in April 2000 initially pitched the game into crisis.

      England won its Test series in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, showing a resilience and organization under captain Nasser Hussain that augured well for the Ashes against Australia, cricket's oldest and most prestigious rivalry. Australia once again proved too strong, however, as leg spinner Shane Warne recovered his form and passed 400 career Test wickets during the five-Test series and Glenn McGrath proved to be an equally potent bowler. The pattern was set in the opening Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham, Eng., when England was bowled out twice cheaply, while Waugh, Damien Martyn, and Adam Gilchrist all made centuries for Australia. Only three times in 10 innings did England's batsmen score more than 300; four times in the first six innings they were bowled out for less than 200. England salvaged some vestige of pride in the fourth Test when, with the Ashes already lost once again, Mark Butcher scored an unbeaten 173 in the fourth innings to lead England to an unlikely target (315). Waugh, who was denied the right to take home the original 19th-century Ashes urn by the authorities at Lord's cricket ground in London, unsuccessfully tried to burn a bail so that the Australians could return home with an urn containing some ashes.

      Bangladesh became the 10th Test-playing nation in November 2000, marking its debut with a defeat to India. Aminul Islam made the country's first Test century. Zimbabwe produced two record-breaking batsmen in a busy year. Just 11 days before his 18th birthday, Hamilton Masakadza became the youngest debutant to score a Test century—119 against the West Indies in Harare, Zimb. Andrew Flower totaled 1,324 runs for the year, including a double century, three centuries, and seven 50s in 15 innings. Masakadza's record was later beaten by Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh, who scored 114 at the age of 17 years and 63 days against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

      The West Indies endured a depressing year, losing 5–0 to Australia and 2–1 to South Africa. Courtney Walsh, the great West Indian fast bowler, bowed out on his home ground in Jamaica, finishing with a record 519 Test wickets in his career. Former England captain Michael Atherton also retired from first-class cricket.

      Pressure continued to grow for cricket to use more television technology to aid in making decisions on the field. Pakistan's defeat of England at Old Trafford, Manchester, Eng., was marred by the subsequent discovery that at least three of England's wickets had fallen to no balls shown clearly by TV. Television replays were used only for run-outs, but it was argued that they could also be used by umpires to judge catches close to the wicket or even lbws.

      In domestic cricket Yorkshire won the county championship in England for the first time in 33 years, and Somerset captured the one-day C&G Cup. Other four-day champions were Western Province (South Africa), Queensland (Australia), and Wellington (New Zealand). KwaZulu/Natal in South Africa and New South Wales in Australia won one-day trophies, and the Western Warriors from Perth, Australia, won the inaugural Champions Cup for the one-day champions of the Southern Hemisphere. New Zealand triumphed in the women's World Cup, beating Australia by four runs in the final.

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2001

      The 1999–2000 cricket year was dominated not by events on the field but by the betting scandal surrounding the South African captain, Wessel Johannes (“Hansie”) Cronje, who admitted that he had taken money from bookmakers to influence the outcome of international matches. The scandal broke in early April 2000 when a transcript of a taped conversation, allegedly between Cronje and an Indian bookmaker, was released by Indian police investigating claims of match fixing. Having initially denied that the voice on the tape was his, Cronje later admitted that he had received a sum between $10,000 and $15,000 for providing “forecasts and information,” but he resolutely denied actually fixing the results of matches. He was sacked immediately as South African captain and replaced by Shaun Pollock, but cricket's reputation was not so easily cleansed.

      In the wake of Cronje's revelations, the whole of cricket came under suspicion. Among the matches subject to investigation was the final Test between England and South Africa at Centurion, S.Af., in January, which ended in a narrow win for England after Cronje unexpectedly set up a final-day declaration following three days of rain, thus officially forfeiting one innings of play for each side and allowing England a chance to win rather than accept the anticipated draw. Several well-known players, including former captains of India and Pakistan, were implicated in the scandal, and the report released by Justice Malik Qayyum in Pakistan found no evidence of “planned match fixing” by the Pakistani team. The Pakistan Cricket Board, acting on the judge's recommendation, banned Pakistan captain Salim Malik for life.

      The International Cricket Council reacted to the crisis by announcing five-year bans for anyone involved in match fixing and by setting up an independent commission of inquiry to be chaired by Sir Paul Condon, the former chief commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London. In South Africa Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams were banned from international cricket for the rest of the year for their involvement in betting, Pieter Strydom was acquitted, and Cronje was banned for life. In India former captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma were banned for life, while Ajay Jadeya and Manoj Prabhakar received five-year bans. By year's end, the authorities were only slowly coming to terms with the fact that cricket, a game of infinite statistical complexity that had formerly been considered incorruptible, had become a gamblers' paradise and that a calendar overcrowded with meaningless one-day matches had fostered a damaging cynicism among the players.

      In the midst of the crisis, there was some excellent cricket played. Australia carried all before it, beating Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India, and New Zealand and setting up a sequence of 10 straight Test victories during the season. The most remarkable of Australia's victories came in November 1999 in the second Test against Pakistan in Hobart, Australia. Set 369 to make in 180 overs, Australia was 126 for 5 when Adam Gilchrist joined Justin Langer. Together the pair put on 238 for the sixth wicket (Langer 127, Gilchrist 149 not out) to guide Australia to the third highest score in the fourth innings to win a Test.

      England's fortunes fluctuated as ever, with a series defeat by South Africa followed by a highly successful summer under a new coach, Duncan Fletcher of Zimbabwe, including series victories over Zimbabwe and, for the first time in 31 years, West Indies. Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart both played their 100th Test for England at Old Trafford, Manchester, Eng., in August, joining only five other England cricketers to reach that milestone. Atherton, in particular, enjoyed a fine series against the West Indies, scoring a century and 83 in the final Test to set up England's 3–1 series win, which turned on a thrilling victory for the home side in the second Test at Lord's, London.

      The West Indies's Courtney Walsh (see Biographies (Walsh, Courtney )) became the highest wicket-taker in Test history in March when he took his 435th Test wicket in the second Test against Zimbabwe in his native Jamaica. He added to the record with another 48 Test wickets, including 34 against England, before the end of the season. Curtly Ambrose, with whom Walsh had opened the West Indies bowling for the past decade, retired from cricket after the final Test against England at the Oval, London. In the previous Test he had taken his 400th Test wicket. On the final day at the Oval when Walsh and Ambrose came out to bat, the England players formed a guard of honour and clapped the West Indian pair all the way to the wicket.

      Meanwhile, the West Indies's Brian Lara suffered an indifferent year, losing the captaincy and dropping out of the game for a short period. Jimmy Adams proved an astute replacement as captain, but only the discovery of Ramnaresh Sarwan, a batsman of genuine ability, gave the once-dominant West Indians a glimpse of hope for the future. Australia, on the other hand, had no such worries. An already formidable pace attack was strengthened by the addition of Brett Lee from New South Wales, who took 13 wickets in his first two Tests against India.

      In England Surrey retained its county championship title comfortably, while unheralded Gloucestershire completed a remarkable four-timer of Lord's cup final successes by winning the Benson & Hedges and NatWest one-day trophies. Western Australia won the Mercantile Mutual one-day cup in Australia, Boland surprisingly won the 45-over night series in South Africa, and Jamaica won the Busta Cup in the West Indies. In 2000 cricket lost two of the sport's greats, fast bowler Brian Statham (Statham, Brian ) and batsman Colin Cowdrey (Cowdrey, Colin ). (See Obituaries.)

Andrew Longmore

▪ 2000

      There was barely time to draw breath in 1998–99, a season in which Australia defeated Pakistan by eight wickets in the final of the one-day World Cup (held in England in May–June) and retained the Ashes over England, West Indies suffered a humiliating 5–0 defeat by South Africa before recovering to draw a thrilling series with Australia, and England slumped to the bottom of the unofficial Test league table for the first time in its history after a defeat by New Zealand. Despite mounting political tension, India played a Test series against Pakistan for the first time in more than 10 years, and Sri Lanka beat Australia for the first time in a Test series.

      As the enquiry into match-fixing allegations in Pakistan rumbled on, it was revealed that two Australian cricketers, Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, had accepted money from an Indian bookmaker in return for information about the pitch and weather during Australia's tour of Sri Lanka in 1994. Warne and Waugh had been fined by the Australian Cricket Board in February 1995, but details of the fines only emerged four years later in the wake of allegations made by the two Australians that Pakistani batsman Salim Malik had tried to bribe them during the 1994–95 tour of Pakistan. By the end of 1999, several leading Pakistani players, including captain Wasim Akram (see Biographies (Wasim Akram )), had been cleared of any charges by the enquiry and the International Cricket Council had been forced to set up its own independent watchdog, the Code of Conduct Commission, to monitor the continuing scandal.

      Mark Taylor, the Australian captain, equalled the individual record of the great Sir Donald Bradman by scoring an unbeaten 334 against Pakistan in Peshawar. Taylor could have challenged the record of 375 set by West Indian Brian Lara against England in the 1993–94 series; instead, he chose to declare the Australian innings on its overnight total. The match ended in a draw. Taylor, having passed 100 Tests and led Australia to victory over England in the following series, retired from international cricket.

      Indian spin bowler Anil Kumble took all 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in Delhi, leading the home side to victory by 212 runs. Lara, in an innings regarded by many commentators as the best ever by a West Indian batsman, made 153 not out under the severest pressure to lead his side to an almost impossible victory over Australia in the third Test in Barbados. West Indies was rescued from 98 for 6 in the first innings by a century from Sherwin Campbell but were still set 308 to win. Lara, who had been heavily criticized for his side's collapse in South Africa, steered West Indies home by just one wicket from a perilous position of 105 for 5. Although Australia won the final Test to level the series at 2–2, some pride was restored to West Indian cricket after a traumatic year.

      The West Indian side was involved in a pay dispute with their cricket board over the terms of a tour of South Africa, and for several days the team was ensconced in a hotel near London's Heathrow Airport, refusing to travel until the issues had been settled. Morale was low when they reached South Africa and sank even further as defeat followed defeat. Only six times in Test history had a side been whitewashed in a series, and the last three were the West Indies.

      With the Ashes already retained by Australia, England seemed headed for another defeat in the fourth Test at Melbourne when Australia reached 140 for 4 chasing 175 to win. A flurry of wickets by Dean Headley and some fine catching reduced the home team to 162 all out, bringing England victory by 12 runs and a measure of respect in an otherwise depressing tour.

      The unswerving tenacity of Steve Waugh, the new Australian captain, and the incisive fast bowling of Glenn McGrath throughout the year helped Australia maintain its dominant position in both the five-day and the one-day game. In the World Cup, Australia started poorly and looked to be out of the tournament in the group stages when reduced to 40 for 3 in reply to South Africa's 271 for 7. Waugh, however, slowly turned the game around, scoring an unbeaten 120 as Australia won with two balls to spare. In the semifinal, Australia cut it even finer against South Africa, which required one run to win off the last four balls but lost the last wicket to a run-out. The final was an anti-climax, as Pakistan's talented young team buckled under the pressure and scored only 132 runs, handing Australia its first World Cup triumph.

      In an effort to increase the competitiveness of English domestic cricket, the County Championship was scheduled to be divided into two divisions for the first time in 1999–2000. The last full championship was won easily by Surrey, while Gloucestershire won the NatWest one-day trophy and the new Super Cup and Lancashire topped the 40-over league. In Australia, Tom Moody led Western Australia to the Sheffield Shield. Victoria won the one-day Mercantile Cup. Griqualand West, led by former South African captain Kepler Wessels, unexpectedly won the Standard Bank Cup, while Northerns (Standard Bank League) and Western Province (Supersport Series) were the other domestic winners. Godfrey Evans, England's finest wicketkeeper, died in May, and fast bowler Malcolm Marshall of the West Indies died in November. (See Obituaries. (Marshall, Malcolm Denzil ))

Andrew Longmore

▪ 1999

      The first Test of the 1998 series between the West Indies and England—held in Sabina Park in Kingston, Jam.—would forever be remembered as cricket's craziest hour. After 66 minutes and 61 balls, the match became the first in the history of Test cricket to be abandoned because of a dangerous pitch. In just over an hour England had lost three wickets for 17 runs and the England physiotherapist had been called onto the pitch six times to treat the batsmen for blows to the hand, elbow, and head. When another ball from C.A. Walsh leapt off a length and struck B.P. Thorpe on the fingers, the umpire gestured to the match referee and the two captains, B.C. Lara, in his first Test as West Indian captain, and M.A. Atherton of England, for talks on the field. After a lengthy discussion, the match was abandoned as a draw. There was little dissent from players, commentators, or even the crowd, many of whom had flown from England to watch the Test. The soil of the newly relaid pitch was cracked and uneven, totally unfit for Test cricket and an enormous embarrassment to the West Indies Cricket Board, the president of which was Jamaican. The umpire was widely praised for his decision to call off the match, and an extra Test was hurriedly arranged for in Trinidad.

      The West Indies went on to win the series but more narrowly than the 3-1 score suggested. England won the third Test in Trinidad and was favoured to square the series in Barbados when the first rain of the year spoiled its chances. Only in the final Test in Antigua did the West Indians, led by their two fast bowlers, C.E.L. Ambrose (who took 30 wickets in the series at an average of 14.27) and Walsh (22 wickets at 25.59), assert its traditional domination. England's most prolific bowler for the series and the whole year was A.R.C. Fraser, who took 27 wickets at 18.22 and bowled with nagging accuracy and unbreakable will throughout. At the end of the series, after four years and 52 Tests, Atherton, England's longest-serving captain, stepped down to be replaced in the spring by A.J. Stewart.

      Despite an unexpected defeat by India, for whom captain S.R. Tendulkar confirmed his reputation as the finest batsman of his generation, Australia justified its position as unofficial world champion with series victories over New Zealand and South Africa. Australia's superiority relied on solid batting and the leg-spin bowling of S.K. Warne, who took 20 wickets against South Africa, 11 of them in the second Test. South Africa came close to drawing the series in the final Test, but without A.A. Donald, its most effective fast bowler, who was injured, the team lacked the penetration to take the last three Australian wickets.

      Donald featured in an enthralling personal duel with Atherton in the fourth Test at Nottingham, Eng. Furious that a legitimate appeal for a catch behind the wicket had been turned down, the South African bowled a series of short-pitched balls from round the wicket that tested Atherton's courage to the limit. He survived, and England won, squaring a series that had appeared to be lost. In the fifth Test at Headingley, England was victorious on the final morning. It was the first time in 12 years that England had won a full series against a major competitor and four decades since it had come from behind to win a series in the deciding Test. The one blemish in the series was the consistently poor standard of umpiring, which brought renewed calls for increased use of video cameras.

      The euphoria was short-lived as England was comprehensively outplayed by Sri Lanka, for whom the off-spinner M. Muralitharan took 16 wickets for 220 runs in the one-off Test. The controversial Muralitharan had been no-balled for throwing earlier in his career, but his curious bent-arm action (caused by his physical inability to straighten his right arm) had been officially cleared by the International Cricket Council. Accusations surfaced once again during the Test, which soured Sri Lanka's victory. Sri Lanka also relied on S.T. Jayasuriya, who batted a faultless 213 off just 278 balls as the touring team won its first Test victory on English soil.

      Despite continuing allegations about match-fixing and Wasim Akram's abrupt resignation as captain, Pakistan enjoyed a good year, with a victory over a demoralized West Indian side and a drawn series in South Africa. India, led by two centuries from Tendulkar and one from the former captain, M. Azharuddin, won a series against Australia for the first time in 18 years. Australia's women cricketers fared better in India, beating New Zealand in Calcutta to win the sixth women's World Cup.

      In England the rights for televising home Tests from the summer of 1999 were taken away from the BBC after 60 years and given to the independent Channel 4 in a bid to attract wider audiences to Test cricket. Leicestershire secured the county championship, Essex captured the last Benson and Hedges one-day cup, and Lancashire won both the NatWest Trophy and the one-day AXA Sunday league. Western Australia beat Tasmania by seven wickets in the Sheffield Shield final, Orange Free State won South Africa's four-day Super Sport series, Karachi City took Pakistan's Quaid-i-Azam Trophy, Karnataka gained the Ranji Trophy in India, and the Leeward Islands and Guyana shared the President's Cup, the West Indies's domestic first-class trophy.


▪ 1998

      Driven ever harder by the demands of television, sponsors, and players, international cricket experienced another hectic season in 1996-97. Whether the quality of the cricket matched the quantity was open to question, but barely a week passed without a Test or one-day international being contested somewhere in the world. There were 45 Tests from Oct. 1, 1996, to Oct. 1, 1997, and more than 100 one-day internationals. By the end, Australia had confirmed its position as the strongest of the nine Test-playing nations, winning 8 of its 15 Tests, including series against the West Indies and South Africa and a record fifth successive victory in the Ashes series against England. The 3-2 score flattered the English, who won the first and last Tests but were comprehensively outplayed in between.

      In G.D. McGrath and S.K. Warne, Australia had bowlers of contrasting styles but similar effectiveness. McGrath, tall, slender, and fast, took 77 wickets in 15 Tests, including 36 (average 19.47) against England, while Warne continued his surge toward the list of all-time greats by becoming the most prolific leg-spinner in Test history. With his ninth wicket of the Ashes series, Warne surpassed R. Benaud's 248 Test wickets, and by the end of the series, he had taken 264 wickets in 58 Tests at an average of just under 24 each. Aggressively led by M.A. Taylor, Australia scored its runs fast and took its wickets quickly—win or lose. Of 15 Tests in the 1996-97 season, only one—in England at Lord's when the first two days were all but lost to rain—was drawn.

      The statistical highlight of the year was recorded in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where the home side's 962 for 6 beat, by 49 runs, the previous highest Test innings, 903 for 7 by England against Australia in 1938. With S.T. Jayasuriya within sight of breaking the individual Test record on the final morning of the first match, a crowd of 32,000 gathered in Colombo to witness history. Sadly, the Sri Lankan opener succumbed to nerves and was out 35 runs short of the world record of 375, having faced 578 balls in an innings lasting 13 hours. The second wicket partnership of 576 with R.S. Mahanama was comfortably the highest for any wicket in Test cricket and was just one run short of being the highest in first-class cricket.

      While Colombo produced a wicket almost perfect for batsmen, the pitches in England for the Ashes series favoured the bowlers, mostly the Australians. England scored a handsome victory in the opening Test when Australia lost eight wickets before lunch on the first day and, with N. Hussain scoring a career-best 207 for the home team, never recovered. In the second Test the rain at Lord's helped England gain a draw when McGrath took 8 for 38. The critical Test was the third at Old Trafford. England had the best of the conditions but had no one to match the wiles of Warne or the determination of S.R. Waugh, who enhanced his reputation as the best batsman in the world by becoming only the third Australian to score a hundred in each innings of an Ashes Test. After that victory Australia did not look back, winning the next two Tests and the Ashes. J.N. Gillespie, a promising young fast bowler, took 7 for 37 at Leeds, while Warne took a total of nine wickets at Nottingham. Only in the final Test at the Oval, on another questionable pitch, did England strike back, bowling Australia out for 104 on the third day, P.C.R. Tufnell taking 11 for 93 in his first Test of the series. For M.A. Atherton, the England captain, it was too little too late. M.T.G. Elliott of Australia was the leading run-scorer, with 556 at 55.60. For England, G.P. Thorpe scored 453 runs at 50.33, and A.R. Caddick fulfilled his potential with 24 wickets at 26.42.

      In the unofficial world championship, Australia beat South Africa 2-1. G.S. Blewett and S.R. Waugh set up an innings win in the first Test with a partnership of 385, and twin brother M.E. Waugh—known as "Junior" because he was born four minutes after Steve—guided Australia to a two-wicket victory in the second Test with an innings of 116 on a bouncy pitch. ) (Waugh, Mark Edward and Stephen Rodger )

      West Indies was still undergoing a rebuilding program when it was beaten decisively by Australia, though S. Chanderpaul confirmed his reputation as a determined middle-order batsman and, on occasion, C. Ambrose recovered his old fire. In B.K.V. Prasad, A. Kumble, and J. Srinath, India found a trio of world-class bowlers to add to the batting prowess of its young captain, S.R. Tendulkar, and two promising newcomers, R.S. Dravid and S.C. Ganguly.

      In England concern over declining standards and interest, especially among young people, prompted a complete overhaul of the structure of the domestic game, both recreational and first-class. A move to change the format of the county championship was defeated, however, which caused some of the more powerful counties to threaten a breakaway. Glamorgan, led by M. Maynard, captured its first county championship title in 28 years. Essex won the NatWest Trophy, Surrey the Benson and Hedges Cup, and Warwickshire the Sunday league. In Australia Queensland secured the Sheffield Shield; Bombay (Mumbai) won India's Ranji Trophy; Barbados captured the Red Stripe Cup in the West Indies; and Canterbury took New Zealand's Shell Trophy. Natal dominated South African cricket, winning both the four-day Super Sport title and the Standard Bank one-day cup. Bangladesh, Kenya, and Scotland qualified for the 1999 World Cup. In April D.C.S. Compton, one of England's most gifted batsmen, died at age 78. ) (Compton, Denis Charles Scott )


▪ 1997

      The victory of Sri Lanka in the 1996 World Cup (see Sidebar (CRICKET: World Cup )), though brilliantly achieved and thoroughly deserved, highlighted the increasing division between the one-day and the five-day game in terms of popularity, standards, and marketing. Sri Lanka showed itself the tactical master of one-day cricket and could rightly bask in the glow of being world champion after its seven-wicket victory over Australia in the World Cup final on March 17, but decisive defeats in all three Tests against Australia demonstrated how far the Sri Lankan team was from being a champion of the five-day game. Aware of cricket's need to compete with other, more aggressively marketed sports, its authorities began to heed calls for the establishment of a world championship of Test cricket.

      "Any team claiming to be world champions can only be considered unofficial champions," Clive Lloyd, the former West Indies captain, said. "But why 'unofficial'? We are not playing unofficial Tests. Some structure should be set up where you play for the championship of the world." While tacitly agreeing that the calendar of Test cricket was coherent, with each nation deciding who it played and when, the International Cricket Council, the ruling body, indicated that in practice it would be difficult to impose a fixture list on the nine Test-playing nations because of financial considerations and a reluctance to cede power to a central body. An unofficial table, based on matches played during the previous four years and compiled by the English magazine Wisden Cricket Monthly, put South Africa on top, narrowly ahead of Australia and West Indies, jointly in second place, and India and Pakistan tied for fourth. Embarrassingly, though doubtless accurately, England was relegated to seventh place, ahead of only Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

      The World Cup began in controversy, with Australia and the West Indies refusing to play their group matches in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on security grounds, and ended in a fairy-tale victory for the 66-1 outsiders, who gained revenge by beating Australia in the final. Sri Lanka's cricket was inventive and thrilling, and in the portly Arjuna Ranatunga Sri Lanka had a calm and astute captain. Ranatunga became only the fifth man to win the World Cup trophy.

      Much of the 1995-96 Test cricket was overshadowed by the World Cup, though Pakistan emerged as a Test side of considerable potential under the leadership of Wasim Akram. Having collapsed disappointingly against Australia, for whom spin bowler S.K. Warne was again dominant, Pakistan went to England in the summer and outplayed the home team, winning 2-0. Akram and Waqar Younis proved again that they were the most deadly opening bowling combination in Test cricket, taking 27 wickets between them in the three-Test series, and Mushtaq Ahmed took 17 wickets at an average of 26.29 with his leg-spin. Ijaz Ahmed, who had scored 137 in the third Test against Australia, scored 344 runs at an average of 68.8 to confirm his promise as one of the classiest young stroke makers in the game. Pakistan's pool of young talent knew no bounds, it seemed. Hassan Raza was thought to be the youngest cricketer in Test history when he made his debut against Zimbabwe late in the year at the advertised age of 14 years 227 days. It was later suggested that Raza actually might have been 15, just as Shahid Afridi—who less than two months earlier had hit the record fastest international one-day century, off 37 balls against Sri Lanka—turned out to be 19 and not 16 as first claimed.

      Not all was lost for England, which had beaten India in the first series of the summer, its first series win in two years, and discovered in N.V. Knight and N. Hussain batsmen of solid technique and good temperament. With D.G. Cork not showing the spark that marked his first year in international cricket, the bowling was more of a problem. Knight scored 113 in the second Test against Pakistan and followed up with consecutive centuries in the two one-day internationals. Despite its defeat, India, too, produced another young player of quality in S. Ganguly, a left-handed batsman who found Test cricket an easy game, scoring a century on his Test debut at Lord's and another in his second Test at Nottingham. In August 23-year-old S.R Tendulkar (see BIOGRAPHIES (Tendulkar, Sachin Ramesh )), who had made his Test debut at age 16, was named India's captain.

      For sheer determination and application, the innings of M.A. Atherton in the second Test against South Africa deserved better reward than a mere draw. Left to bat out a total of 165 overs with no chance of victory, the England captain made 185 not out in 645 minutes (10 3/4 hours) to steer his side to safety. R.C. Russell, who had earlier become the first wicketkeeper to take 11 dismissals in a match, batted for 276 minutes and 75 overs to score 29 not out. After rain had spoiled the first and third Tests in England's first series in South Africa since 1964-65, the outcome was decided in the fifth and final Test, which South Africa won comfortably by 10 wickets. S.M. Pollock, son of the former Test fast bowler P.M. Pollock and nephew of the great left-hander R.G. Pollock, made an impressive debut in the series, taking 16 wickets at an average of 23.56. A.A. Donald of South Africa and England's Cork both took 19.

      Among the most noteworthy aspects of the series was the debut of P.R. Adams, a left-arm wrist spinner whose contortionist's action caused almost as much comment as the colour of his skin. Adams was the first Cape Coloured to have broken into the Test side since the end of apartheid and, at 18, was South Africa's youngest Test cricketer.

      In domestic cricket Leicestershire, led by J. Whitaker, emerged as the surprise winner of the county championship in England. Lancashire won both of the one-day knockout trophies, and Surrey won the Sunday league. South Australia won the Sheffield Shield, that nation's premier domestic trophy, for the first time in 14 years. Auckland claimed New Zealand's Shell Trophy, Leeward Islands won the Red Stripe Cup in the West Indies, and Western Province took the Castle Cup in South Africa. (ANDREW LONGMORE)

▪ 1996

      After nearly two decades of domination, the West Indies in 1994-95 finally had to cede its unofficial title of cricket's world champions to Australia, a 2-1 defeat on home soil being its first loss of a Test series since 1979-80 in New Zealand. The Australians, led by M.A. Taylor, fully deserved their historic victory. Outstanding batting by S.R. Waugh, who scored 429 runs at an average of 107.25 for the four Tests, and superb fielding and catching exposed a strangely lethargic West Indies side, which looked as though it had played one Test series too many. Not even the trenchant criticism of home supporters could lift the West Indies, which lost the deciding fourth Test by a humiliating innings and 53 runs in Jamaica after leveling the series on an underprepared pitch in Trinidad. For once, S.K. Warne, the Australian leg-spinner, did not contribute significantly to victory, largely because the pitches were made to suit the fast bowlers, but he still remained the most charismatic and influential bowler through the year. (See BIOGRAPHIES (Warne, Shane Keith ).) A hard-fought drawn series with England in the summer confirmed that the West Indians were in a period of transition.

      A new controversy hit the game, though, when two Australian players, Warne and T. May, accused the Pakistan captain, Salim Malik, of offering them a bribe to lose a match during the Australian tour of Pakistan in late 1994. The accusations were investigated by Pakistan authorities, and Malik's innocence was confirmed, but many in the game felt that the matter had not been properly handled and that the International Cricket Council should have carried out its own inquiries, particularly as neither Warne nor May was called to give evidence to officials in Pakistan. The lingering bitterness did nothing to ease the relationships between the two sides, which had been strained to near the breaking point during a fluctuating and ultimately decisive first Test of a three-match series in Pakistan, when only a last-wicket partnership of 57 between Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed brought the home side victory. Wasim Akram (8 for 139) and Waqar Younis (7 for 144) had set up victory, but Warne (8 for 150) had bowled Australia back into the match. In his first match as captain of Australia, Taylor had the unhappy distinction of making two noughts. The next two Tests were drawn, leaving Pakistan as the winner by 1-0. Malik was the leading run-scorer with 557, and Warne was the most successful bowler, with 18 wickets (at an average of 28.00).

      Australia's superiority over England was confirmed with a 3-1 victory in the Ashes series in Australia. After a promising summer this was a disappointing result for England, whose batsmen had no answer to the spin of Warne or the pace of C.J. McDermott, while in M.J. Slater, Australia had the most promising young batsman of the year. Slater scored 623 runs in five Tests against England at an average of 62.30 to confirm his promise. For England, D. Gough, a sturdy fast bowler from Yorkshire, enhanced his reputation by taking 6 for 49 in the third Test in Sydney before breaking down with an ankle injury, and G.P. Thorpe, a left-handed batsman from Surrey, showed style and determination in being top scorer for England with 444 runs. But England never recovered from the loss of the first two Tests, in which McDermott and Warne took 31 wickets between them, the latter taking a hat trick at Melbourne in the second Test. England's solitary victory came in the fourth Test when D.E. Malcolm and C.C. Lewis took four wickets each in the second innings as Australia was bowled out for 156.

      Perhaps the best series of the year was that between the West Indies and England, which ended in a 2-2 draw after a summer of changing fortune and unrelenting excitement. Twice the West Indies, led by R.B. Richardson, went ahead; twice England came back, until the two sides resembled exhausted heavyweight boxers. In D.G. Cork, England discovered an all-rounder with the spirit of I.T. Botham, while B.C. Lara ended a quiet period with three successive centuries, averaging 85 for his 765 runs in the six-Test series, his batting once again showing the certainty of judgment and execution that had brought him the individual Test and first-class batting records in the previous year. In full flow the little left-hander had no equal. Cork marked his Test debut by taking eight wickets as England recorded its first victory over the West Indies at Lord's in 38 years. At Manchester he also took a hat trick, the first by an Englishman in a Test match in 38 years, while in the final Test C.A. Walsh became only the third West Indian (after L. Gibbs and M. Marshall) to have taken 300 Test wickets.

      Zimbabwe played host to Sri Lanka in a three-Test series that ended with three draws. Later in the season, however, Zimbabwe recorded its first victory in its 11th Test, at home against an erratic Pakistan, though it lost the next two Tests and the series 2-1. Pakistan was well beaten in the inaugural Test against South Africa, while the decline of New Zealand continued with defeats by Sri Lanka (the country's first series win on foreign soil) and South Africa. Sri Lanka continued to show signs of becoming a competitive force by defeating Pakistan 2-1 in a three-Test series in Pakistan. Meanwhile, India split a three-Test series (its only Test series of the season) against West Indies, with one win apiece and one draw. Much of the rest of international cricket play was marked more by quantity than quality, with a proliferation of spurious one-day tournaments, perhaps in anticipation of the World Cup scheduled to be held in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in 1995-96.

      In domestic cricket in England, Warwickshire, under the captaincy of D. Reeve, won the championship, for the second successive year, and the NatWest Trophy, the one title the county had not won the previous year. Kent won the one-day Sunday league title and Lancashire the one-day Benson and Hedges Cup. In Australia, Queensland won its first Sheffield Shield title, the nation's premier domestic trophy, after a 68-year drought. Barbados won the Red Stripe Cup in the West Indies, while Auckland won the Shell Trophy in New Zealand, and Natal the Castle Cup in South Africa.

      In England a controversy triggered by an article in the Wisden Cricket Monthly spilled over into the general media and provoked widespread discussion of the issues of race and nationalism in sports. The article, an essay by Robert Henderson, allegedly questioned whether or not black cricketers could be fully committed to the England cause. Two black England players, P.A.J. DeFreitas and D.E. Malcolm threatened to file suit. (ANDREW LONGMORE)

▪ 1995

      The emergence of Brian Lara (see BIOGRAPHIES (Lara, Brian )), the West Indian left-hander, as potentially the greatest batsman of all time was the highlight of an intense season of Test cricket that saw the establishment of an independent panel of umpires for the first time; allegations of ball tampering against M.A. Atherton, the English captain; the retirement of A.R. Border, the Australian captain and the highest Test run scorer of all time; and a record number of Test wickets for Kapil Dev of India. Compared with Lara, much of the Test cricket was mediocre, though the return of South Africa as a force in world cricket—with two drawn series against Australia and one against England—added variety to a calendar still top-heavy with one-day internationals. The South Africans, sternly led by K.C. Wessels and with a fine pair of fast bowlers in A.A. Donald and P.S. de Villiers, proved more than a match for a combative Australian side. In both series, home and away, South Africa took the lead, and its victory by five runs in the second Test in Sydney, Australia, was a tribute to the South Africans' tenacity and team spirit. Needing just 117 runs to win, Australia had reached 51 for 1 before de Villiers took three wickets in five balls, and the last six Australian wickets went down for 48 runs to bring South Africa an unlikely but welcome victory on its first tour of Australia in 30 years. In the final Test, Australia turned the tables, thanks largely to a century by S.R. Waugh, who enjoyed a fine year.

      After the second series against South Africa, Border retired from Test cricket with an incomparable record. In 156 Tests he scored 11,174 runs (average 56.56) with 27 centuries. He captained Australia a record 93 times, and it was sad that the end of a great career was marred by the insensitivity of administrators who seemed to be forcing Border from office. M.A. Taylor replaced Border as the Australian captain.

      England's young captain, Atherton, had a year of contrasting fortune. As a batsman he went from strength to strength, scoring two centuries against the strong West Indian attack and often leading his team with imagination and drive. Having been comprehensively outplayed by the West Indies in the first three Tests, England fought back to inflict the West Indies' first defeat in Barbados in 59 years, with A.J. Stewart scoring a century in both innings, and A.R.C. Fraser taking eight wickets in the first innings. The most decisive bowler of the series was once again C.E.L. Ambrose, who belied rumours of tiredness by taking 26 wickets in the series at an average of 19.96. The West Indies also seemed to have unearthed another precocious talent in a young Guyanan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

      Atherton returned to England with his reputation enhanced but, after a narrow victory over a poor New Zealand side in the first series of the summer, he was accused of rubbing an illegal substance onto the ball during the first Test against South Africa at Lord's. He compounded his error by withholding information about the incident when questioned by the International Cricket Council match referee, P. Burge. Atherton stoutly maintained that he was only rubbing dirt on his fingers to dry the ball and was not trying to alter the ball's condition—a sensitive issue in England after recent tampering allegations against the Pakistani side—but television pictures produced some powerful evidence to the contrary, and there were calls for his resignation. In the event, the England captain was heavily fined but escaped a suspension that would almost certainly have cost him the captaincy.

      To compound the problem, South Africa marked its first Test in England in nearly 30 years with a handsome victory. It was not until the third Test at the Oval that England struck back. A devastating spell of fast bowling by D.E. Malcolm, whose 9 for 57 was the sixth best bowling performance in Test cricket, provided the platform for a comfortable win. Atherton, however, was in trouble once again and was fined half his match fee for showing dissent to the umpire when given out first ball.

      Lara's feats rather overshadowed the performance of the Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev, who took his 432nd Test wicket in his 130th Test (against Sri Lanka in Ahmadabad, India, in February) to surpass Sir Richard Hadlee's total of 431. Hadlee took his wickets in 44 fewer Tests, but the fact that Kapil had missed only one Test since making his debut in 1979 was a tribute to his fitness and enthusiasm. Only Border had played more Tests. India won all three Tests of the series by an innings as Sri Lanka, thrashed also by Pakistan, struggled to justify its place as a Test-playing nation. Zimbabwe, the newest recruit to Test cricket, performed more creditably against Pakistan, though its batsmen had little answer for the pace of Waqar Younis, who took 27 wickets (average 13.7) in the three-match series. Spinners also enjoyed their moments of success. The Australian leg-spinner S.K. Warne took 32 wickets in six Tests against South Africa, and A. Kumble of India had match figures of 11 for 128 in the first Test against Sri Lanka.

      The year saw the setting up of an independent panel of Test umpires, with Tests controlled by one home umpire and one chosen from the panel. The experiment had its critics, but it worked well and certainly ended most of the accusations against biased umpiring. In domestic cricket Warwickshire (led by Lara's glorious hitting) completed a memorable treble in English county cricket by winning the county championship, the Benson and Hedges Cup, and the Sunday League. Had Worcestershire not beaten them in the final of the NatWest Trophy, Warwickshire would have swept the board. In Australia, New South Wales beat Tasmania to win the Sheffield Shield final. Unfashionable Orange Free State won the double of Castle Cup and Benson and Hedges night series in South Africa, and the Leeward Islands won the West Indies Red Stripe Cup.


▪ 1994

      The return of South Africa to full-time Test cricket and the arrival of Zimbabwe as the ninth Test-playing nation made 1992-93 probably the busiest season in the history of the game. There were 38 Tests played in 14 different series in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 1993, and, though some of the cricket was of questionable quality, the fourth Test between Australia and West Indies in Adelaide, Australia, would go down as one of the greatest Test matches ever. West Indies won by just one run, the narrowest winning margin in Test cricket history, after Australia had inched its way from an almost impossible position to the verge of a victory that would have given the Australians their first series win over the West Indies since 1975-76. The Australian captain, A.R. Border, who a month later became the highest run-scorer in Test cricket, was particularly disappointed by the defeat, but he had the satisfaction of leading his side to a handsome 4-1 series win against England in the summer and retaining the Ashes for the second time.

      England had a disastrous year, losing eight and winning just one of its 10 Tests. It was no surprise when G.A. Gooch, who passed D.I. Gower to become the most prolific English Test batsman and recorded his 100th first-class hundred during the season, resigned as captain after the fourth Test against Australia and was replaced by M.A. Atherton. In contrast, India enjoyed something of a revival after a long barren spell, with a 3-0 series win over England and comfortable victories over Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. Its only defeat came in the first Test series played in South Africa in 22 years and, in V.G. Kambli and A.R. Kumble, the Indians produced two of the most exciting young cricketers of the year. Kambli became only the third batsman, after Sir Donald Bradman and W. Hammond, to score double centuries in consecutive Tests, and Kumble's 21 wickets in three Tests were largely responsible for England's defeat.

      B.C. Lara, a flamboyant, diminutive left-hander, and C.E.L. Ambrose, a towering fast bowler, also showed themselves to be worthy successors to the tradition of great West Indian cricketers, with the former making a faultless 277 against the Australians in Sydney and the latter taking 33 wickets at an average of 16.42, including 19 in the last two Tests, as the West Indies won the series 2-1. For Australia the ebullient M.G. Hughes (see BIOGRAPHIES (Hughes, Mervyn Gregory )) took 20 wickets at 21.60, and D.C. Boon, perhaps the most consistent Test scorer of the year, made 490 runs at 61.25.

      England began the winter with a crushing defeat in India and ended it by losing to Sri Lanka. The England batsmen could never come to terms with the Indian spinners, and its bowlers provided no more than gentle practice for Kambli and 19-year-old S.R. Tendulkar, another prodigiously talented batsman, who gave M. Azharuddin a welcome change of fortune as the Indian captain. The England team was constantly troubled by illness, and by the end of the tour morale was so low that Sri Lanka had little difficulty in winning its first Test against England by five wickets. Only G.A. Hick, who topped both bowling and batting averages for the touring side, enhanced his reputation. But worse was to come.

      Back home in the summer, England was systematically humiliated by a tough, well-organized, and well-led Australian side. After heavy defeats in three of the first four Tests, Gooch handed over the captaincy to Atherton of Lancashire, who salvaged some respect by captaining England to its first win in 19 Tests against Australia in the final Test at The Oval. Boon, with 555 runs, and M.E. Waugh (550 runs) headed the Australian batting, and Hughes (31 wickets), gave strong support to S.R. Warne, who led the side with a decisive 34 wickets. Only Gooch, with 673 runs, and newcomer G.P. Thorpe made centuries for England.

      South Africa's first home series in two decades, against India, produced some very dull cricket, epitomized by the final day of the fourth Test, on which only 111 runs were scored. South Africa won the third Test to take the series 1-0. A. Donald confirmed his position as one of the fastest bowlers in the world by taking 12 wickets in the match, and in the first Test, Tendulkar became the first victim of the newly introduced television replay. K. Wessels, the South African captain, who once played for Australia, became the first player to score Test hundreds for two different countries. South Africa also beat Sri Lanka to mark a successful first full year back in Test cricket. New Zealand defeated Zimbabwe and drew with Australia 1-1 in a three-Test series but lost to Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Zimbabwe drew its first-ever Test with India before losing the return match heavily in Delhi.

      The series between West Indies and Pakistan was widely regarded as the unofficial championship of Test cricket. But, after a long hard schedule, the Pakistan team, captained for the first time by Wasim Akram, proved no match for the home team, for whom D.L. Haynes, with two centuries in the first two Tests, was outstanding. In domestic cricket, Middlesex won the first four-day championship in England, while one-day trophies were won by Warwickshire (NatWest), Derbyshire (Benson and Hedges), and Glamorgan (Sunday League). New South Wales won the Sheffield Shield in Australia, and Northern Districts took the Shell Trophy in New Zealand. (ANDREW LONGMORE)

* * *

      any of approximately 2,400 species of leaping insects (order Orthoptera) that are worldwide in distribution and known for the musical chirping of the male. Crickets vary in length from 3 to 50 mm (0.12 to 2 inches). They have thin antennae, hind legs modified for jumping, three-jointed tarsal (foot) segments, and two slender abdominal sensory appendages (called cerci). The two forewings are stiff and leathery, and the two long, membranous hind wings are used in flying.

      Male crickets produce musical chirping sounds by rubbing a scraper located on one forewing along a row of about 50 to 250 teeth on the opposite forewing. The frequency of the chirps depends on the number of teeth struck per second and varies from 1,500 cycles per second in the largest cricket species to nearly 10,000 cycles per second in the smallest. The most common cricket songs are the calling song, which attracts the female; the courtship, or mating, song, which induces the female to copulate; and the fighting chirp, which repels other males. Both sexes have highly sensitive organs on the forelegs for sound reception. There is a direct relationship between the rate of cricket chirps and temperature, with the rate increasing with increasing temperature.

      Most female crickets insert eggs into soil or plant stems with their long, slender ovipositors, sometimes causing serious plant damage. In northern latitudes most crickets mature and lay eggs in the fall. The nymphs hatch in the spring and become adults after 6 to 12 molts; adults ordinarily live 6 to 8 weeks.

      The field cricket (genus Gryllus) and the house cricket (Acheta, formerly Gryllus, domesticus) of the subfamily Gryllinae are stout-bodied and black or brown and often dig shallow burrows. They may feed on plants, animals, clothes, and each other. The field cricket (also called the black cricket) is common in fields and yards and sometimes enters buildings. The house cricket, introduced into North America from Europe, has a light-coloured head with dark cross bands and may be found in buildings and refuse heaps. Widely distributed, house and field crickets chirp day and night. They are used as fish bait in some countries and are also used in biology laboratories. Gryllus is often referred to in poetry and prose.

      Ground crickets (subfamily Nemobiinae, or sometimes Gryllinae), approximately 12 mm long, are commonly found in pastures and wooded areas. Their song is a series of soft, high-pitched trills. The striped ground cricket (Nemobius vittatus) has three dark stripes on its abdomen.

      Tree crickets (subfamily Oecanthinae) are white or green in colour and have transparent wings. Although tree crickets are beneficial to humans because they prey on aphids, the female injures twigs during egg placement. The song of most tree crickets is a long trill. The snowy tree cricket (Oecanthus fultoni) is popularly known as the thermometer cricket because the approximate temperature (Fahrenheit) can be estimated by counting the number of chirps in 15 seconds and adding 40. Tree- and bush-inhabiting crickets usually sing at night, whereas weed-inhabiting crickets sing both day and night.

      Ant-loving crickets (subfamily Myrmecophilinae) are minute (3 to 5 mm long), wingless, and humpbacked. They live in ant nests. Wingless bush crickets (subfamily Mogoplistinae) are generally found on bushes or under debris in sandy tropical areas near water. They are slender crickets, 5 to 13 mm long, wingless or with small wings, and are covered with translucent scales that rub off easily. Sword-bearing, or winged bush, crickets (subfamily Trigonidiinae) are 4 to 9 mm long and brown and possess a sword-shaped ovipositor. They are characteristically found in bushes near a pond.

      Crickets play a large role in myth and superstition. Their presence is equated with good fortune and intelligence; harming a cricket supposedly causes misfortune. In East Asia male crickets are caged for their songs, and cricket fighting has been a favourite sport in China for hundreds of years.

      Insects called crickets but not of the cricket family Gryllidae include the camel cricket, Jerusalem cricket, mole cricket, and pygmy sand cricket.

 England's (United Kingdom) national summer sport, which is now played throughout the world, particularly in Australia, India, Pakistan, the West Indies, and the British Isles.

      Cricket is played with a bat and ball and involves two competing sides (teams) of 11 players. The field is oval with a rectangular area in the middle, known as the pitch, that is 22 yards (20.12 metres) by 10 feet (3.04 metres) wide. Two sets of three sticks, called wickets, are set in the ground at each end of the pitch. Across the top of each wicket lie horizontal pieces called bails. The sides take turns at batting and bowling (pitching); each turn is called an “innings” (always plural). Sides have one or two innings each, depending on the prearranged duration of the match, the object being to score the most runs. The bowlers, delivering the ball with a straight arm, try to break (hit) the wicket with the ball so that the bails fall; this is one of several ways that the batsman is dismissed, or put out. A bowler delivers six balls at one wicket (thus completing an “over”), then a different player from his side bowls six balls to the opposite wicket. The batting side defends its wicket.

      There are two batsman up at a time, and the batsman being bowled to (the striker) tries to hit the ball away from the wicket. A hit may be defensive or offensive. A defensive hit may protect the wicket but leave the batsmen no time to run to the opposite wicket; in that case the batsmen need not run, and play will resume with another bowl. If the batsman can make an offensive hit, he and the second batsman (the nonstriker) at the other wicket change places. Each time both batsmen can reach the opposite wicket, one run is scored. Providing they have enough time without being caught out and dismissed, the batsmen may continue to cross back and forth between the wickets, earning an additional run for each time both reach the opposite side. There is an outside boundary around the cricket field. A ball hit to or beyond the boundary scores four points if it hits the ground and then reaches the boundary, six points if it reaches the boundary from the air (a fly ball). The team with the highest number of runs wins a match. Should both teams be unable to complete their number of innings before the time allotted, the match is declared a draw. Scores in the hundreds are common in cricket.

      Matches in cricket can range from informal weekend-afternoon encounters on village greens to top-level international contests spread over five days in Test matches and played by leading professional players in grand stadiums.


      Cricket is believed to have begun (possibly as early as the 13th century) as a game in which country boys bowled at a tree stump or at the hurdle gate into a sheep pen. This gate consisted of two uprights and a crossbar resting on the slotted tops; the crossbar was called a bail and the entire gate a wicket. The fact that the bail could be dislodged when the wicket was struck made this preferable to the stump, which name was later applied to the hurdle uprights. Early manuscripts differ about the size of the wicket, which acquired a third stump in the 1770s, but by 1706 the pitch—the area between the wickets—was 22 yards long.

      The ball, once presumably a stone, has remained much the same since the 17th century, weighing between 5 and 6 ounces (140 and 170 grams). Its modern weight was established in 1774.

      The primitive bat was no doubt a shaped branch of a tree, resembling a modern hockey stick but considerably longer and heavier. The change to a straight bat was made to defend against length bowling (cricket), which had evolved with cricketers in Hambledon, a small village in southern England. The bat was shortened in the handle and straightened and broadened in the blade, which led to forward play, driving, and cutting (cricket). As bowling technique was not very advanced during this period, batting dominated bowling through the 18th century.

The early years
      The earliest reference to an 11-a-side match, played in Sussex for a stake of 50 guineas, dates from 1697. In 1709 Kent met Surrey in the first recorded intercounty match at Dartford, and it is probable that about this time a code of laws (rules) existed for the conduct of the game, although the earliest known version of such rules is dated 1744. Sources suggest that cricket was limited to the southern counties of England during the early 18th century, but its popularity grew and eventually spread to London, notably to the Artillery Ground, Finsbury, which saw a famous match between Kent and All-England in 1744. Heavy betting and disorderly crowds were common at matches.

      The aforementioned Hambledon Club, playing in Hampshire on Broadhalfpenny Down, was the predominant cricket force in the second half of the 18th century before the rise of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London. Formed from a cricket club that played at White Conduit Fields, the club moved to Lord's Cricket Ground in St. Marylebone borough in 1787 and became the MCC and in the following year published its first revised code of laws. Lord's, which was named after its founder, Thomas Lord, has had three locations over its history. Moving to the current ground in St. John's Wood in 1814, Lord's became the headquarters of world cricket.

      In 1836 the first North counties versus South counties match was played, providing clear evidence of the spread of cricket. In 1846 the All-England XI, founded by William Clarke of Nottingham, began touring the country, and from 1852, when some of the leading professionals (including John Wisden, who later compiled the first of the famous Wisden almanacs on cricketing) seceded to form the United All-England XI, these two teams monopolized the best cricket talent until the rise of county cricket. They supplied the players for the first English touring team overseas in 1859.

Technical development
      Until early in the 19th century all bowling was underhand, and most bowlers favoured the high-tossed lob. Next came “the round-arm revolution,” in which many bowlers began raising the point at which they released the ball. Controversy raged furiously, and in 1835 the MCC rephrased the law to allow the hand to be raised as high as the shoulder. The new style led to a great increase in pace, or bowling speed. Gradually bowlers raised the hand higher and higher in defiance of the law. Matters were brought to a head in 1862 when an England team playing against Surrey left the field at London's Kennington Oval in protest over a “no ball” call (i.e., an umpire's decision that the bowler has thrown an illegal pitch). The argument centred on whether the bowler should be allowed to raise his arm above the shoulder. As a result of this controversy, the bowler was in 1864 officially accorded liberty to bowl overhand (but not to cock and straighten the arm). This change dramatically altered the game, making it yet more difficult for a batsman to judge the ball. Already a bowler was allowed to take a running start from any direction and for any distance. Once the bowler was allowed to release overhand, the ball could then reach speeds above 85 mph (135 kph). Though this is not as fast as the pitching speed in baseball, cricket has an additional twist in that the ball is usually delivered so as to bounce on the pitch (field) before the batsman can hit it, thus, the ball may curve to the right or the left, bounce low or high, or spin toward or away from the batsman.

      Batsmen learned to protect themselves with pads and batting gloves, and a cane handle increased the resilience of the bat. Only the best batsmen, however, could cope with fast bowling, because the poor condition of most pitches made it yet more difficult for a batsman to predict the motion of the ball. As the grounds improved, however, batsmen grew accustomed to the new bowling style and went on the offensive. Other new bowling styles were also discovered, causing batsmen to adjust their technique further.

      In the early 20th century so many runs were being scored that debate ensued on reforming the “leg-before-wicket (cricket)” law, which had been introduced in the 1774 laws to prohibit a batsman from using his body to prevent the ball from hitting his wicket. But the heavy scores were actually due to the performances of several outstanding batsmen, such as W.G. Grace (Grace, William Gilbert), Sir John Berry Hobbs (Hobbs, Sir John Berry), and K.S. Ranjitsinhji (Nawānagar, Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji, Maharaja Jam Sahib of) (later the maharaja of Nawanagar). This was cricket's golden age.

      In the 20th century there was a series of attempts to aid the bowler and quicken the tempo of the game. Nevertheless, the game by the mid-20th century was characterized not by overwhelming offense but by defensive play on both sides and by a slow pace. In an attempt to shore up a declining fan base, one-day, or limited-overs, cricket was introduced. One-day cricket had first been played internationally when, after a Test match was rained out for the first days, on the last scheduled day of play a limited-overs match was held in order to give the fans some game to watch. The response was enthusiastic and one-day cricket came into being. In this version of cricket the limited number of overs (usually 50 per side) leads to a faster paced though much-altered game. In one-day cricket there are some restrictions on placement of fielders. This led to new batting styles, such as the paddle shot (wherein the ball is hit while behind the wicket because there are usually no fielders there) and the lofted shot (where the batsman tries to hit the ball past the fielders and over their heads). One-day cricket became more popular than Test matches worldwide, although in England, Test cricket retained a large following. The pace of Test matches increased dramatically in the late 20th century with the introduction of new bowling strategies.

Organization of sport and types of competition
County and university cricket
      Some of the earliest organized cricket matches were between amateur and professional players. From 1806 (annually from 1819) to 1962, the Gentlemen-versus-Players match pitted the best amateurs against the best professionals. The series was ended in 1962 when the MCC and the counties abandoned the distinction between amateurs and professionals. Other early cricket matches took place between British universities. The Oxford (Oxford, University of)-versus-Cambridge (Cambridge, University of) match, for example, has been played mainly at Lord's since 1827 and became a high point of the summer season in London.

      University cricket was a kind of nursery for county cricket—i.e., matches between the various counties of England. Although the press acclaimed a “champion county” (Sussex) as early as 1827, qualification rules for county cricket were not laid down until 1873, and it was only in 1890 that the format of the county championship was formalized by the counties themselves. Gloucestershire dominated the 1870s, thanks to W.G. Grace (Grace, William Gilbert) and his brothers E.M. and G.F. Grace. From the 1880s to World War I, Nottinghamshire, Surrey, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Kent, and Middlesex constituted the Big Six that dominated county cricket. After World War I the northern counties, led by Yorkshire and Lancashire, largely professional teams, were the leaders. Surrey, with seven successive championships, dominated in the 1950s and Yorkshire in the 1960s, followed by Kent and Middlesex in the 1970s. The 1980s were dominated by Middlesex, Worcestershire, Essex, and Nottinghamshire. Other first-class counties in county cricket are Leicestershire, Somerset, Hampshire, Durham, Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Sussex, Northamptonshire, and Glamorgan.

      After a postwar boom, slow play and lower numbers of runs characterized the 1950s, and this defensive nature of county cricket led to progressively decreased attendance. In the 1960s the MCC and the counties introduced a one-day knockout competition (the Gillette Cup—since 1981 the NatWest Bank Trophy) and a separate Sunday afternoon league, which revived public interest, although most counties remained dependent financially on proceeds from football pools and money received from Test matches and broadcasting fees. The immediate registration of overseas players was permitted, and each county, as of the early 1980s, was allowed one such player, who could, however, still play for his national team. The change worked well for the counties, and it also strengthened the national teams for whom those players appeared. In county cricket, bonus points were created to encourage batsmen and bowlers to play less defensively, and from 1988, to help the development of young batsmen and spin bowlers, four-day games increasingly replaced the three-day format. The longer game gives batsmen more time to build an innings and relieves them of the pressure to score runs quickly. Spin bowlers benefit from the longer game because the pitch wears as the game progresses and permits greater spin.

The Cricket Council and the ECB
      A reorganization of English cricket took place in 1969, resulting in the end of the MCC's long reign as the controlling body of the game, though the organization still retains responsibility for the laws. With the establishment of the Sports Council (a government agency charged with control of sports in Great Britain) and with the possibility of obtaining government aid for cricket, the MCC was asked to create a governing body for the game along the lines generally accepted by other sports in Great Britain. The Cricket Council, comprising the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB), the National Cricket Association (NCA), and the MCC, was the result of these efforts. The TCCB, which amalgamated the Advisory County Cricket Committee and the Board of Control of Test matches at Home had responsibility for all first-class and minor-counties cricket in England and for overseas tours. The NCA consisted of representatives from clubs, schools, armed services cricket, umpires, and the Women's Cricket Association. In 1997 there was another reorganization, and the TCCB, the NCA, and the Cricket Council were all subsumed under the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The MCC still is in operation, having responsibility for maintaining Lord's and for adjudicating the laws of cricket.

International cricket
 The English introduced cricket wherever a ground was available and two teams could be collected. The firmest roots are in those countries that were members of the Imperial Cricket Conference. The conference was founded in 1909 by England, Australia, and South Africa (which ceased to be a member on leaving the Commonwealth in 1961 but was reinstated to the ICC in 1991), and they were joined as full members by India, New Zealand, and the West Indies in 1926 and Pakistan in 1952. In 1965 the conference was renamed the International Cricket Conference. In 1981 Sri Lanka was elevated by the ICC to full-member status; Zimbabwe followed in 1992 and Bangladesh in 2000, bringing the number of nations with Test status to 10. Of those, the nations with the greatest percentage of wins in Test matches are Australia, the West Indies, and Pakistan.

      In 1965 the ICC made associate members of the United States and Fiji, followed by Bermuda, The Netherlands, Denmark, East Africa, Malaysia, Canada, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Argentina, Israel, Singapore, West Africa, and Kenya. From 1984 Italy, Switzerland, The Bahamas, France, and Nepal entered in a subsidiary class of affiliate membership. In 1989 the ICC changed its name again to the International Cricket Council. The new ICC set its sites on expanding cricket to a global sport, encouraging countries such as Japan, Kenya, Greece, Germany, Nepal, Namibia, and Uganda to compete. By the end of the 20th century more than 100 nations were playing cricket.

 The first Test match, played by two national teams of the best players, was between Australia and England in Melbourne in 1877, Australia winning. When Australia again won at the Oval at Kennington, London, in 1882, the Sporting Times printed an obituary notice announcing that English cricket would be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia, thus creating the “play for the Ashes.” The Ashes, kept in an urn at Lord's irrespective of which country is victorious, are supposed to be those of a bail burned on the England tour of Australia in 1882–83. For the rest of the 19th century, the two countries met almost yearly. With W.G. Grace (Grace, William Gilbert), the greatest cricketer of Victorian England, on its side, England was often too strong for the Australians, though Australia had the greatest bowler of this era in F.R. Spofforth and the first of the great wicketkeepers in J.McC. Blackham.

      In 1907 South Africa first played Test matches in England and also took on Australia, whose dominance between the two world wars was symbolized by the prodigious run scoring of D.G. (later Sir Donald) Bradman (Bradman, Don). This period saw a notable growth in the number of Test match countries with the arrival of the West Indies in 1928, New Zealand in 1930, and India in 1932.

      The visit of the English side to Australia in 1932–33 severely strained relations between the countries because of the use of “bodyline” bowling tactics, in which the ball is bowled close to or at the batsman. This scheme was devised by the English captain, D.R. Jardine, and involved fast, short-pitched deliveries bowled to the batsman's body so that the batter would be hit on the upper body or head or alternatively, would be caught out by one of the fielders on the leg side (the side behind the striker when in a batting stance). The plan was devised to curb Bradman's scoring, but it led to a large number of serious injuries on the Australian team. The practice was felt to be unsportsmanlike by the Australians, who protested vigorously. The series was played out (with England winning 3–1), but it created bitter feeling on the part of Australia for some time to come. Bodyline bowling tactics were banned soon after the series.

      After World War II there were Test matches in England every summer, Australia being the most frequent visitor, and the Test ranks were increased by the addition of Pakistan in 1952. There was a steady escalation of tours between the Test-playing countries to the extent that, while the first 500 Test matches were spread over 84 years, the next 500 occupied only 23. Sri Lanka's entry in 1982 as the eighth Test-playing nation came during an era dominated by the West Indies, whose devastating attack was founded, for the first time in cricket history, on four fast bowlers. Zimbabwe was admitted as a Test nation in 1992 and Bangladesh in 2000.

       Cricket World CupOne-day internationals—answering the complaint that Test matches went on too long—began in 1972. In 1975 the first World Cup was contested in England in a series of one-day matches of 60 overs a side. The event was a great success and continued at four-year intervals. It was held outside England, in India and Pakistan, for the first time in 1987. For a list of winners, see the table Cricket World Cup.

      Test cricket has faced a number of crises since the late 1960s. In one such case in 1969–70 a South African tour of England was canceled because of opposition to the South African racial separation policy. Violence, damage, and disruption of play had been threatened. A further threat to Test cricket was posed by an Australian television network executive, Kerry Packer, who signed many of the world's leading players for a series of private contests between 1977 and 1979. Reprisals were brought against the players but were overruled after court action in England. The players returned to the fold, but commercialism had taken hold of the game. In 1982 the agreement of 12 first-class English players to take part—in breach of official guidelines—in a commercially sponsored South African tour with fees of up to £50,000 per player led to the players' being banned from Test cricket for three years. Cricketers from Sri Lanka and the West Indies also toured South Africa and received more stringent sanctions, and the engagement of English professionals as players and coaches in South Africa threatened a serious division between the Test-playing countries that ended only with the repeal of apartheid laws in South Africa beginning in 1990.

      Test cricket was again rocked by a scandal that began in 1999 regarding match fixing. While betting on matches had been common in England in the early days of cricket, many Test nations had banned such betting in the modern era. In India and Pakistan betting on cricket was legal, however, and cricketers playing international matches there reported being asked by bookmakers and betting syndicates to underperform in return for money. A number of players were eventually found to have fixed matches. Members of the Australian, South African, Indian, and Pakistani national teams were all tainted by this scandal, several players were banned from cricket for life, and the integrity of the game was called into question.

Women's cricket
      Women first played cricket in England in the 18th century. In 1887 the first club, White Heather, was formed, and it survived to 1957. In 1890 two professional teams known collectively as the Original English Lady Cricketers were in action.

      In 1926 the Women's Cricket Association was founded, and in 1934–35 it sent a team to Australia and New Zealand. Australia paid a return visit in 1937, and, since World War II, tours have increased. The International Women's Cricket Council was formed in 1958 by Australia, England, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Africa and later included India, Denmark, and several West Indian islands. A World Cup was instituted in 1973, two years ahead of men's cricket, and England and Australia played in the first women's matches at Lord's in 1976.

Play of the game

Field of play, equipment, and dress
 Cricket grounds vary in size from great arenas, such as the main playing area at Lord's in London (5.5 acres [2.2 hectares]) and the even larger Melbourne Cricket Ground, to village greens and small meadows. Level turf of fine texture is the ideal surface, but where this is unavailable any artificial covered surface—such as coir (fibre) matting or artificial turf on a firm base—may be used. The limits of the playing area are usually marked by a boundary line or fence (see the figure—>).

      A wicket consists of three stumps, or stakes, each 28 inches (71.1 cm) high and of equal thickness (about 1.25 inches in diameter), stuck into the ground and so spaced that the ball cannot pass between them. Two pieces of wood called bails, each 4.37 inches (11.1 cm) long, lie in grooves on the tops of the stumps. The bails do not extend beyond the stumps and do not project more than half an inch above them. The whole wicket is 9 inches (22.86 cm) in width. There are two of these wickets, which a batsman defends and a bowler attacks, and they are approximately in the centre of the ground, facing one another at each end of the pitch.

      Lines of whitewash demarcate the creases at each wicket: the bowling crease is a line drawn through the base of the stumps and extending 4.33 feet (1.32 metres) on either side of the centre stump; the return crease is a line at each end of and at right angles to the bowling crease, extending behind the wicket; and the popping crease is a line parallel with the bowling crease and 4 feet in front of it. The bowling and return creases mark the area within which the bowler's rear foot must be grounded in delivering the ball; the popping crease, which is 62 feet (18.9 metres) from the opposing bowling crease, demarks the batsman's ground. When a batsman is running between wickets, the crease represents the area in which he is “safe” (in baseball parlance) and only a cricketer's bat need be in the crease; thus a batsman will often place just the tip of the bat over the line of the crease and then begin to run for the opposite wicket.

      The blade of the paddle-shaped bat is made of willow and must not be broader than 4.25 inches (10.8 cm). The length of the bat, including the handle, must not exceed 38 inches (96.5 cm). The ball, which has a core of cork built up with string, was traditionally encased in polished red leather, although white is now frequently used, especially for night games. The halves of the ball are sewn together with a raised seam (the seam being like the equator on a globe, not like the curved seam of a baseball or tennis ball). Slightly smaller, harder, and heavier than a baseball, it must weigh between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (156 and 163 grams) and measure between 8.8 and 9 inches (22.4 and 22.9 cm) in circumference. In the early days of cricket it was common to use the same ball for an entire match, which allowed for pitches with more swerve and movement as the match wore on. Even today a cricket ball may stay in play for an entire day of a match, and, as the ball gets more used, it is progressively more difficult to hit.

      Cricket attire has evolved with men's fashion. In the 18th century cricketers wore tricorne hats, knee breeches, silk stockings, and shoes with buckles. More colourful dress was common on the field in the 18th century, and only in the late 19th century did the uniform now associated with cricket arrive: white flannel trousers with a white shirt and V-necked sweater, the sweater often trimmed with club colours. Players have worn a myriad of hat styles, including top hats and straw hats, but in the 1880s the coloured cap became the norm. White buckskin shoes also became popular for men in the 1880s, and cricketers then adopted the white shoes (known, however, as boots) that are now traditionally worn with flannels. In a break with tradition, late 20th-century players in one-day cricket matches began to wear brightly coloured clothing.

      With the advent of fast bowling, cricketers adopted protective dress. The batsman wears white pads (leg guards), an abdominal protector, and batting gloves to protect the fingers; batsmen may also wear helmets and other protection. The wicketkeeper also wears pads and reinforced gauntlets (the other fielders do not wear gloves).

Rules of the game
 One player on each team acts as captain. There are two umpires—one standing behind the bowler's wicket, the other at the position called square leg about 15 yards from the batsman's popping crease (see the figure—>)—to control the game according to the laws; two scorers record its progress. The object of the game is for one side to score more runs than the other.

      At the start of a match, the captain who wins the toss of a coin decides whether his own or the other side shall take first innings—i.e., proceed successively as batsmen, the first two as a pair together, to the wicket and try to make as many runs as possible against the bowling and fielding of their opponents. There are three methods by which an innings is completed: (1) when 10 batsmen have been dismissed (the remaining batsman, having no partner, is declared “not out”); (2) when the captain of the batting side declares his innings closed before all 10 men are out (a captain may decide to declare if his team has a large lead in runs and he fears that the innings will continue so long that the opposing team will not have time to get in their full innings and the game will therefore be a draw); or (3) in a match of one innings a side, when the allotted number of overs expires. Results are recorded by the margin of runs or, if the side batting last passes the other side's total before all their batsmen have been dismissed, by the number of their wickets (i.e., batsmen still to be dismissed) outstanding.

      Matches are decided either by the number of runs scored in one innings each (usually for one-day matches) or on the aggregate of runs made by each side in two innings. Test matches last five days (30 playing hours), other first-class matches from three to four days, and the bulk of club, school, and village matches one day.

 The nonbatting side takes up positions in the field. One man is the bowler (similar to the pitcher in baseball), another is the wicketkeeper (similar to the catcher), and the remaining nine are positioned as the captain or the bowler directs (see the figure—>). The first batsman (the striker) guards his wicket by standing with at least one foot behind the popping crease. His partner (the nonstriker) waits behind the popping crease at the bowler's end. The bowler tries to hit the batsman's wicket or to dismiss (cricket) him in other ways.

      The batsman tries to keep the bowler from hitting the wicket, while also trying to hit the ball sufficiently hard to score a run, i.e., enable him to run to the other end of the pitch before any fieldsman can pick up the ball and throw it to either wicket to knock off the bails. If the wicket is broken, either by a thrown ball or by the wicketkeeper or bowler with ball in hand, before either batsman is in his ground, the batsman is dismissed. The striker does not have to run after he has hit the ball, nor does it count in any way if he misses the ball or if his body is struck by it. But if he gets a good hit and thinks he can score a run, he races for the opposite wicket and his partner runs toward him. When each has made good his ground by touching his bat beyond the popping crease at the opposite end, one run is recorded to the striker; if there is time, each will run back for a second or more runs, crossing again. If an even number of runs is scored, the striker will receive the next ball; if an odd number, then the nonstriker will be at the wicket opposite the bowler and will face the next ball. Any runs thus made count to the batsman, otherwise they are extras. When a ball from a hit or any of the extras mentioned below goes as far as the boundary, the runners stop and four runs are scored. If the batsman hits the ball full pitch over the boundary (on the fly), he scores six runs.

      Only runs scored from the bat count to the batsman, but to the side's score may be added the following extras: (1) byes (when a ball from the bowler passes the wicket without being touched by the bat and the batsmen are able to make good a run); (2) leg byes (when in similar circumstances the ball has touched any part of the batsman's body except his hand); (3) wides (when a ball passes out of reach of the striker); (4) no balls (improperly bowled balls; for a fair delivery the ball must be bowled, not thrown, the arm neither bent nor jerked, and in the delivery stride some part of the bowler's front foot must be behind or covering the popping crease), off which a batsman cannot be out (except as noted under Methods of dismissal (cricket) below) and which, apprised in time by the umpire's cry of “no ball,” he may try to hit.

      When a bowler has bowled six balls (occasionally, eight balls), not counting wides and no balls, he has completed an over. The batsmen remain where they are and a new over is begun by a different bowler at the opposite wicket, with a corresponding adjustment of the positions of the players in the field. If a bowler delivers a complete over without a run being scored from the bat (even though the opponents may have scored extras by means of byes or leg byes), he has achieved a maiden over. In one-day cricket, no bowler is allowed to bowl more than 10 overs in a 50-over match.

Methods of dismissal
      It is important to remember that in cricket, unlike in baseball, a batsman need not hit the ball bowled at him to maintain his at bat. Further, should the batsman hit the ball and, in his judgment, be unable to reach the other wicket before a fieldsman can handle the ball, he may stay put at his wicket and no penalty occurs. The batsman's primary task is to defend the wicket, not to get hits or score runs. That being said, there are 10 ways in which a batsman or striker can be dismissed (put out); they are listed from most common to least:
      The batsman is “caught out” if a ball hit by the batsman is caught before it touches the ground.

      He is “bowled out” if the bowler breaks the wicket, i.e., dislodges a bail with the ball.

      The batsman is out “leg before wicket” (lbw) if he intercepts with any part of his person (except his hand) that is in line between wicket and wicket a ball that has not first touched his bat or his hand and that has or would have pitched (hit the ground) in a straight line between the wickets or on the off side provided the ball would have hit the wicket. The batsman may also be out lbw if he intercepts the ball outside the off-side stump having made no genuine attempt to play the ball with his bat.

      Either batsman is out by a “run out” if, while the ball is in play, his wicket is broken while he is out of his ground (that is, he does not have at least his bat in the crease). If the batsmen have passed each other, the one running for the wicket that is broken is out; if they have not crossed, the one running from that wicket is out.

      He is “stumped” if, in playing a stroke, he is outside the popping crease (out of his ground) and the wicket is broken by the wicketkeeper with ball in hand.

      The batsman is out “hit wicket” if he breaks his own wicket with his bat or any part of his person while playing the ball or setting off for a run.

      Either batsman is out for handling the ball if, with the hand not holding the bat, he willfully touches the ball while it is in play, unless with the consent of the opposing side.

      A batsman is out if he hits the ball, except in defense of his wicket, after it has been struck or stopped by any part of his person.

      Either batsman is out if he willfully obstructs the opposite side by word or action.

      An incoming batsman is “timed out” if he willfully takes more than two minutes to come in.

      Regardless of the means of dismissal, a batsman is not given out until the fielding side has appealed to an umpire and that umpire has declared the player out. Thus, when a play occurs in which the batsman could be out, a fielder will appeal to the umpire with the phrase “How was that?” (pronounced “Howzat?”). Only then will the umpire rule on the play. (If a player knows himself to have been out, however, he can declare himself out.) No matter how a player was dismissed, even if by leg before wicket or timed out, the vernacular of cricket is such that it is said that the batting side has “lost a wicket.”

Strategy and technique
      The disposition of the field will vary widely according to the technique of the bowler or of the batsman, the condition of the pitch, the state of the game, and the tactics determined by the captain. He may place his fieldsmen as he thinks best, and he may alter their positions, if he wishes, after each ball. There are no foul lines in cricket, so a hit in any direction is a fair ball. The objectives of the captain of the fielding side are: (1) to place his men in positions where the batsman may give a catch, i.e., hit a drive or a fly ball to a fielder and (2) to save runs, i.e., to block the path of the ball from the batsman's scoring strokes (intercept or trap grounders). The tactical possibilities for a captain in directing his bowlers and fieldsmen and the batsmen are manifold and constitute one of the attractions of the game. In one-day cricket, however, there are some restrictions on the placement of fielders.

      As there are 11 players on a team and 2 of them must be the bowler and wicketkeeper, only 9 other positions can be occupied at any one time. The field is spoken of as being divided lengthwise into off and on, or leg, sides in relation to the batsmen's stance, depending upon whether he bats right- or left-handed; the off side is the side facing the batsman, and the on, or leg, side is the side behind him as he stands to receive the ball. The fieldsmen will reposition themselves at the end of each over and will adjust the field for a left- or right-handed batsman.

      To sum up, the objective of the bowler is primarily to get the batsman out and only secondarily to prevent him from getting runs, though these objectives have tended to become reversed in limited-overs cricket. The objective of the batsman is to protect his wicket first and then to make runs, for only runs can win a match. The objective of each fielder is, first, to dismiss the batsmen, and, second, to prevent the striker from making runs.

      Bowling can be right- or left-arm. For a fair delivery, the ball must be propelled, usually overhand, without bending the elbow. The bowler may run any desired number of paces as a part of his delivery (with the restriction, of course, that he not cross the popping crease). The ball generally hits the ground (the pitch) before reaching the batsman, although it need not. The first requisite of a good bowler is command of length—i.e., the ability to pitch (bounce) the ball on a desired spot, usually at or slightly in front of the batsman's feet. The location varies with the pace of the bowler, the state of the pitch, and the reach and technique of the batsman. The second requisite is command of direction. On this foundation a bowler may elaborate with variations—finger spin (in which the ball rotates on its axis as it moves towards the batsman), swerve (which describes a ball that curves towards or away from the batsman once it has bounced on the pitch), alteration of pace (the speed of the ball)—that lend deceptiveness and uncertainty as to exactly where and how it will pitch. A good-length ball is one that causes the batsman to be uncertain whether to move forward to play his stroke or to move back. A half volley is a ball pitched so far up to the batsman that he can drive it fractionally after it has hit the ground without having to move forward. A yorker is a ball pitched on or inside the popping crease. A full pitch is a ball that the batsmen can reach before it hits the ground. A long hop is a ball short of good length.

      The primary purpose of the spin is to bring the ball up from the pitch at an angle that is difficult for the batsman to anticipate. The two swerves (curves) are the “inswinger,” which moves in the air from off to leg (into the batsman), and the “away swinger,” or “outswinger,” which swerves from leg to off (away from the batsman). A “googly” (coined by cricketer B.J.T. Bosanquet on the 1903–04 MCC tour) is a ball bowled with fingerspin that breaks unexpectedly in the opposite direction from that anticipated by the batsman given the motion of the bowler. A more recent variation in bowling is known as reverse swing. This delivery was pioneered by Pakistani players, particularly by bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younnus. If a bowler is able to deliver at speeds of greater than 85 mph (135 kph), he can achieve reverse swing, meaning that without altering the grip on the ball or the motion of delivery, the bowler can cause the ball to swing (curve) in either direction. This makes it difficult for the batsman to gauge the direction in which the ball will move, as nothing about the bowler's motion is different between the swing and the reverse swing delivery. Bowlers worldwide now employ this delivery, especially at the end overs as the batsmen look to dominate the bowler. If a bowler does not have the pace (speed) to deliver the reverse swing, another way to cause the ball to move in that fashion is to tamper with the surface of the ball (by scratching or scuffing it). Charges of ball tampering increased dramatically in the 1990s.

      A batsman may hit right-handed or left-handed. Good batting is based on a straight (i.e., vertical) bat with its full face presented to the ball, although a cross (i.e., horizontal) bat can be used effectively to deal with short bowling. The chief strokes are: forward stroke, in which the batsman advances his front leg to the pitch (direction) of the ball and plays it in front of the wicket (if played with aggressive intent, this stroke becomes the drive); back stroke, in which the batsman moves his rear leg back before playing the ball; leg glance (or glide), in which the ball is deflected behind the wicket on the leg side; cut, in which the batsman hits a ball on the uprise (after it has hit the ground on the off side), square with or behind the wicket; and pull or hook, in which the batsman hits a ball on the uprise through the leg side.

      The ideal fieldsman is a fast runner with quick reactions and the ability to throw quickly and accurately. He should be able to anticipate the batsman's strokes, to move quickly to cut off the ball in its path, and to judge the flight of the ball in the air to make a safe catch.

      The wicketkeeper is a key member of the fielding side. He takes position behind the striker's wicket, 10 to 20 yards back for the fast bowlers or directly behind for those of slower pace. He must concentrate on every ball, being ready to stop a ball that passes the wicket, to stump a batsman if he leaves his ground, or to receive a ball returned to him by a fielder.

Marcus K. Williams Rex Alston Ed.

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Additional Reading
Literature on the sport is listed in E.W. Padwick (compiler), A Bibliography of Cricket, 2nd rev. ed. (1984), which cites the sources up to the end of 1979. Informative histories include H.S. Altham and E.W. Swanton, A History of Cricket, 2 vol. (1963); Rowland Bowen, Cricket: A History of Its Growth and Development Throughout the World (1970); E.W. Swanton (general ed.), Barclays World of Cricket: The Game from A–Z, new ed., rev. by George Plumptre (1986); and Jack Pollard, Australian Cricket: The Game and the Players (1982). For records, scores, and statistics, see Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (annual); Philip Bailey, Philip Thorn, and Peter Wynne-Thomas, Who's Who of Cricketers: A Complete Who's Who of All Cricketers Who Have Played First-Class Cricket in England with Full Career Records (1984); Christopher Martin-Jenkins, The Complete Who's Who of Test Cricketers, rev. ed. (1987); Bill Frindall (compiler and ed.), The Wisden Book of Cricket Records (1986), and The Wisden Book of Test Cricket 1877–1984, 2nd rev. ed. (1985); and Bill Frindall and Victor H. Isaacs (compilers), The Wisden Book of One-Day International Cricket, 1971–1985 (1985).Marcus K. Williams

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Universalium. 2010.

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