Seriously, How Do You Score Cricket?

Tillakaratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka in a match against India (Reuters)

I’m still in Sri Lanka, which means that of the 40 television stations on  my hotel TV, four are showing cricket matches! For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to score this blasted game. 4 overs for 135 and blah blah blah. I’m used to sports where when you score, you get one point. Or sometimes two or three. Occasionally six.

But, still, it makes no sense. Someone help me out!

Read all of my posts from Sri Lanka, and consider sponsoring a child as well.

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  • James

    I have a theory about cricket, which is that for each cricket match, there is exactly one person on the field who actually understands what is happening at any given time.

    Everyone else just runs around and pretends they understand the rules, while secretly and subtly being manipulated by the one knowledgeable person into following the actual rules of cricket.

    The excitement of a cricket match isn’t who wins or who loses or what the (completely meaningless) score is; it’s guessing (and occasionally betting on) who the one person on the field is who actually understands the game’s rules and, once you’ve done that, marveling at the subtle ways in which they manipulate everyone else to follow them.

  • Mike

    Speaking as a Brit (who loves cricket) I would just say that one is either born with an innate understanding of cricket, or it takes years of study! [And those who do understand don’t take kindly to this sort of sarcastic comment by James ;)]

    I know the idea of a draw (a bit like a tie, but different!) resulting from five days of play is also baffling to you Americans!

    Seriously, I think it’s more of a cultural thing. I suspect a majority of Indians (or Sri Lankans or Australians or West Indians) understand the rules, and the scoring, very well.

    Moving beyond the domain of sport I could turn the tables and express my incomprehension at your Presidential election system. How is it that one candidate can sometimes win having received less votes than another candidate!

    Anyway, as the French say: “Vive la difference”!

  • JoeyS

    If you hit it outside the oval on the ground it is worth 4 points, but you have to run to the other stump (which is worth 1 point) to get it. If you hit the ball out on the full it is worth 6 points. Each side plays until all batsmen are retired then the sides switch. If you just run to the other stump (or wicket) you get a point. If your stump breaks and you are outside of the crease (the line you stand behind while batting) you are out.

    Or you could just read Bill Bryson who has the funniest commentary on cricket I’ve seen:

    “After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind) I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn’t fix in a hurry. It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. I don’t wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players — more if they are moderately restless. It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.

    Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it to center field; and that there, after a minute’s pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt toward the pitcher’s mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to to handle radio-active isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle forty feet with mattress’s strapped to his legs, he is under no formal compunction to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and every one retires happily to a distant pavilion to fortify for the next siege. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket.

    The mystery of cricket is not that Australians play it well, but that they play it at all. It has always seemed to me a game much too restrained for the rough-and-tumble Australian temperament. Australians much prefer games in which brawny men in scanty clothing bloody each other’s noses. I am quite certain that if the rest of the world vanished over night and the development of cricket was left in Australian hands, within a generation the players would be wearing shorts and using the bats to hit each other. And the thing is, it would be a much better game for it.”

  • Ian H

    Cricket is really easy…
    There are two teams of 11 and they toss a coin to decide which team will go in first. The team in first send out two players out to bat and the team not in goes out to bowl and field. The team which is not in bowl at the batters to get them out, while the batters try to score runs. If the team who is not in gets one of the batters out, the batter goes in and another batter comes out. He is in until he is out, when he goes in and another batter comes out and so on until the team which is in is all out. when that happens the team which was not in all go out and their batters come in until they are all out at which point the team with the most runs wins.

  • My suggestion would be to turn the TV off and leave your hotel room. Or at least go somewhere with people watching the game and ask them.

  • Dude. What is your room number? I will come explain it to you.

    • Hasanthi

      thanks Shawn =) Gosh Tony, why didn’t you ask me???????? If you asked a ten-year-old during the field visit he would’ve explained to you… =)