Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field. At the centre of this field, there is a 22-yard pitch with a wicket at each end, each with two balls balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat (and running between the wickets), while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this (by preventing the ball from leaving the field, and getting the ball to either wicket) and dismiss each batter . There are three principle means of dismissal. The first is being 'bowled' - when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails. The second is when the fielding side either catches the ball after it is hit by the bat and before it hits the ground. The last is to hit a wicket with the ball before a batter can cross the crease in front of the wicket. When ten batters have been dismissed, the inning ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match's statistical information.
Forms of cricket range from Twenty20, with each team batting for a single inning of 20 overs, to Test matches played over five days. Traditionally cricketers play in all-white kits, but in 'limited overs' cricket, they wear club or team colours. In addition to the basic kit, some players wear protective gear to prevent injury caused by the ball, which is a hard, solid spheroid made of compressed leather with a slightly raised sewn seam enclosing a cork core layered with tightly wound string.
The earliest reference to cricket is in South East England in the mid-16th century. It spread globally with the expansion of the British Empire, with the first international matches in the second half of the 19th century. The game's governing body is the International Cricket Council , which has over 100 members, twelve of which are full members who play Test matches.