Cricket question: defensive innings

The Aussies are currently trying to bat out the day to get the draw in the third Ashes Test.

Are the batsmen obliged to run between the wickets? The aim now is to defend until 6.30pm, taking as few risks as possible to see the day out.

Running between the wickets, when there’s no chance of winning the game, is an unneccesary risk (from the point-of-view of the batting side).

Is there anything in the rules that requires the batsmen to attempt to gain runs, or can they leave Ponting on strike for the rest of the day?

The Laws of Cricket do not require that a batsman attempt a run. The batsman has two jobs: (1) defending the wicket, and (2) gaining runs.

Here are the Laws of Cricket.

Well, Ponting’s not at the bottom of the order, Gillespie’s lbw, and right now Australia has 3 wickets in hand and 30 overs to go in day 5 of the 3rd test, 269/7.

Sure, but Ponting’s the only recognised batman left… despite Warne’s knock in the first innings you’d prefer Ponting on strike ahead of any of the tail.

Cheers for the link though… wasn’t sure whether it would count as “unsporting behaviour”.

Mostly running between the wickets does not constitute much of a risk (obviously a team in this situation will try to avoid any close runs that they might go for in another situation.

Running between the wickets does have some advantages - rotating the strike prevents the bowlers building up too good a rythym against one batsman (especially true if you have a right and left hander in) and I guess it helps keep the batsman alert - generally it’s optimum to try to bat as ‘normally’ as possible in such a situation.

Aussies held out for a draw by the way, with one wicket left.

Wasn’t it strange to see Brett Lee NOT wanting the ball to go for four,and the England fans willing the ball to the rope so as he retained strike?
We {ENG} were robbed by the loss of play on Saturday through the rain,which brings me to the question/hijack as to why test matches are 5 days in length?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to just bat out both innings and see who has the most runs at the end,however long that may take?Seems kinda quirky that possibly one team can annihilate the other,but through bad weather the inferior team may take a draw from the match.I have heard that the origins of the 5 day test match were that when we started playing Australia over there in the 1800’s the play had to be resolved in order for the players to catch the (not very frequent) boat home again,or something along those lines.Can anyone explain?

Mickymoo is probably thinking of the match between South Africa and England (MCC) which took place between the 3rd and 14th of March 1939 (scorecard here).

There was no fixed end to the game - it was “timeless” - but the MCC side had a boat to catch so it was left a draw after 10 days.

Up until 1945 I believe most Test matches in England were scheduled for 4 days or, if the opposition was New Zealand or India, 3. There were many other “timeless” Tests, all in either South Africa or Australia I think, but few lasted more than 5 or 6 days.

The last time I recall a Test being scheduled to last for more than 5 days was the 4th (and last) Test between England and Australia at The Oval in 1972 - it was a draw after 6 days. According to Wisden, it is the longest match ever played in England, at 32 hours and 17 minutes, although a total of 187 minutes’ play were lost to rain/bad light.

Well, i can’t commment on the historical origin of the five-day test match (remember, though, that test matches often used to have a “rest day” between day 3 and day 4). But i can say unequivocally that removing the time restriction and simply allowing both teams to bat through two complete innings would absolutely ruin test cricket.

First of all, the removal of the time factor wold mean that both sides could bat as defensively as possible, attempting to minimize the number of wickets while adding runs at a slow pace. This would make test cricket unbelievably boring. For those of you old enough to remember watching Geoff Boycott bat, imagine what tests would be like if every batsman on both teams played like that.

Second of all, a real attraction of test cricket, in my opinion, is the strategy involved in deciding things like how quickly to try and score runs, and when to declare if you have a lead. Captains play a fine balancing act between wanting to have enough runs to guarantee that they can’t lose, on the one hand, and leaving themselves enough time to bowl out the opposition, on the other. These sorts of decisions can lead to extremely exciting finishes.

Thirdly, one of the things i love about test cricket is the fact that much of the attraction involves appreciating the cricketing skill and the strategy involved in the game. And a result is not necessary to get those things. In fact, some of the most exciting test matches i’ve seen have been ones similar to this most recent Ahses test, where one side is battling desperately for a draw, while the other is doing everything possible to get wickets in order to win. If we removed the time limit and just allowed them to play on and on, that excitement would be gone from the game.

The only sense in which i agree with easing up on the time limit is in the type of scenario you describe, where weather interferes with play. But the game officials have some opportunity to tack on extra playing time to make up for time lost to rain or bad light. Of course, if a whole day is lost to rain, they can’t just tack on another day. I admit that, in some ways, it would be nice if they could do this, but the fact is that the tight schedules faced by touring cricket teams nowdays would make it difficult. Also, while rain delays can work to the advantage of one team, allowing an extra day might have a similar effect for one team or the other. After all, even with pitch covers, rain and moisture can significantly affect the behaviour of the pitch and the conditions for the fielding team. This could lead to the same sort of problems we now face.

All in all, i think test cricket is best left as it is. If i want to watch a TV-friendly, bastardised game of cricket ith a guaranteed result, i’ll tune in to a one-day game, or even a game of that 20:20 abomination. But when i want to watch cricket as it was supposed to be played, it’s a test match every time, IMO.

I completely agree (as I said in the other thread :slight_smile: ).
On the matter of “timeless” tests the pitches are usually pretty well worn out after 5 days as it is. We’ve had two very exciting tests (I’m doing my best to forget the first one) so if it’s not broken why fix it?

Yeah, completely forgot about that.

At the end of five days, you often get massive cracks opening up in the surface, and the area around the bowlers’ follow-through is really scuffed up.

If they had unlimited time, teams would probably start playing at least two spinners every match to take advantage of the deteriorating pitch.

That 10-day Test in South Africa in 1939 may well have been played on (coconut) matting, laid over concrete - so there would be no question of the pitch wearing!

I’m trying to understand the cricket threads but it might as well be in Swahili. Is there a site that explains to the utter novice the fundamentals of cricket?

As clear as that?

I googled a bit and found this, which isn’t brilliant, but will do for starters.

Though superficially rather different, at their core cricket and baseball have a lot in common. The really fundamental difference is that when you hit a baseball [fair], you must run; in cricket, it’s optional.

An interesting question. The laws may not require batsmen to score, but that is not to say it will be tolerated. I do remember that there was a one-day match involving India where Mongia came in to join Prabhakar at the crease, with 7 overs remaining, requiring 63 runs to win. They deliberately played it slow and got only 16 runs.

Why did they adopt a strategy certain to lose?

There’s no point playing a defensive innings in a one day match. Unlike test cricket, they will lose if they don’t make the runs, regardless of the wickets in hand. I suspect they played it slow because of the quality of the bowling rather than because they decided to. Unless you’re suggesting they deliberately lost the game.

The problem is that simply having the rules and the general progression of the game explained to you will not really help you with a lot of the stuff that gets discussed in cricket threads. It’s sort of the same with baseball; i knew many of the basic rules of baseball when i moved to the US, but it’s only after watching it for a few years that i feel that i can discuss things like strategy and problems with any real understanding. Cricket is one of those games where the best way to understand it is to spend a long time watching it.

That said, this is not a bad guide. And this BBC web page has lots of good information.

You just have to watch it in order to learn how it works. At least that’s how I did it this past summer in NZ. I doubt I would ever have understood it by just reading the rules (especially not the subtleties of the game). I now think that it is easily one of the best sports in the world. Learning how cricket works is maybe the best thing I got out of my year in NZ.

Well, there can be.

As your overall run-rate (used as tie-breakers in round robin tournaments) is calculated on the full 50 overs regardless of how many were actually bowled, it’s sometimes better to eke out as many runs as possible, rather than throw your wickets away, and end the innings prematurely.

This can actually turn out to be annoying, as a team chasing a big total who loses a few early wickets will often potter about, trying to salvage what they can.

Another reason to play a defensive innings in a one day match is if the match is part of a competition, you are already through to the final, and losing the present game will affect the points in such a way to result in you playing a preferred team in the final.

I believe New Zealand did it (or were suspected of doing it) some time ago. It was seen as unsporting, though not quite as unsporting as bowling underarm :).