Sport is an important part of Australian culture and it’s something you’ll notice when you’re here.
One of the most popular sports is cricket and the greatest Test batsman of all time is Australia’s own Don Bradman.
Cricket is often referred to as Australia’s national sport due to its popularity around the country.
Summer is cricket season in Australia – so most weekends you’ll either see a match on the TV or on the local sporting fields!
On Australia Day (tomorrow) England vs Australia Game Four of the One Day International Series is on TV for the vast majority of the day – walk into any pub and you’re likely to see it on the screen.
Here are a few basic pointers for those who want to know more about this team sport that Aussie’s are obsessed with!
There are several formats of the game –Twenty20 cricket, Limited Over matches, indoor cricket, club cricket and more.
This blog will focus on the traditional form – Test Cricket.
Players and umpires:
Cricket is played with two teams made up of 11 players each plus one sub per team who only participates if a player is injured and can only be a fielder.
Two umpires are on the field to ensure rules are followed and other is off the field and in charge of video decisions for when something is too close to call for the two on-field umpires.
To determine who bats first, a coin is tossed and the winning captain will elect whether their team bats or bowl first.
How is it played?
At each end of the pitch are the stumps/wickets with two bails (little wooden pieces) on top.
The bowler tries to knock down the bail of the wicket and the batsman tries to prevent the bowler from hitting the wicket by hitting the ball.
When the batsman hits the balls bowled at them, they score runs. Fielders attempt to catch the ball to get the batsman out or stop the ball.
Bowlers bowl six legal deliveries to call it an over and the bowling and batting ends changes after every over as does the wicket keeper.
Batting is done in pairs with a striker (batsman) and non-striker swapping places after an over.
Once a batsman is out, he has to walk out of the field and a new batsman comes on. An innings is regarded as complete if all the batsmen of the first batting team are out or the other team has bowled their full quota of overs.
When this happens, the teams swap over for the second innings where the other team chases the target set by the first batting team.
How does a team win?
The object of the game is to score runs when at bat and to dismiss or put out the opposing batsman when in the field.
To score a run, the batsmen need to run to each other’s end of the pitch and they can do this multiple times per shot.
Runs can also be scored by hitting boundaries. A boundary scores the batsmen either 4 or 6 runs. A 4 is scored by hitting the ball past the boundary after it hits the ground and a 6 is scored by hitting the ball past the boundary on the full.
The fielding team has two roles – to get the batsmen out and to limit the number of runs scored by the batsmen.
How long does a game last?
A game of Test cricket is scheduled over five days. The game is played over three to five days with at least six hours played per day plus breaks. The length of the game all depends on the players, results, conditions, climate and various other contributing factors.
Obviously five days is a bit drawn out for even the biggest fans to watch non-stop, so in the 1970s one-day cricket was created (it goes for one day).
Another form of the game is Twenty20 which is fast paced and each innings is between 70 and 90 minutes.
What games can I see / watch in Australia?
There are a lot! From local games to the big ones – the Boxing Day Test, the Big Bash Leagues, One Day Internationals… find the details on the Cricket Australia website for the series and tournaments.