Escape from scandal

"Escape from scandal" Continued...

Issue: "Is Christianity in the U.S. doomed?," June 20, 2009

Gayle has been batting for a half hour now, and looks like he could stick in there all day. Broad takes another turn at bowling, and I begin to think about a cup of coffee, or tea, to guard against the chill wind blowing straight in. Then, before I know it, I am rising with my neighbors, a shout coming from my lips. Pieces of wood are flying though the air behind Chris Gayle, who is twisted around on himself. And Stuart Broad is running through the field with his teammates, his right arm stretched above his head. The ball had finally gotten away from Chris Gayle, spinning off the head of his bat straight back into the wicket, which cheerfully exploded into its separate pieces. Gayle slowly trudges off toward the players' pavilion, to drink a cup of tea perhaps.

Broad waves to the crowd and takes his place. The umpire resets the wicket, carefully balancing the crosspiece on top of the uprights. We sit and watch the replay on the big screen, not thinking about the economy, about our portfolios, about our dried-up credit, about bank failures or bailouts. And all our anger about a failed financial system, about a lying government, about Parliament members lining their pockets with public funds, about the seeming collapse of every traditional structure in society-it all fades away, and all of us, even the American novice, care only about those pieces of wood, tumbling into the mown grass as they have for hundreds of years.

Cricket, anyone?

• The main action takes place on the pitch, a rectangle 22 yards long in the center of the field. On either side are wooden wickets, made up of stumps (three vertical pieces) and bails (two horizontal top pieces).

• At any given time two active batters take turns hitting the throws of two active bowlers (pitchers). The bowlers take turns, bowling six times each from one particular side. The bowling team aims to retire the batter by striking the batter's wicket and sending the pieces of wood flying, or by catching a ball struck by the batter.

• Cricket is played between two teams of 11 cricketers (players) each.

• One team bats while the other team bowls and fields. Each team runs through its lineup twice. The two innings can take up to five days.

• The batter aims to defend his wicket by using his flat bat to keep the bowler from hitting the wicket. He scores runs by hitting the ball and then running between the two wickets before the fielders can touch the ball to one of the wickets.

• If the batter strikes the ball and it passes the outer boundary in the air, he automatically scores six runs; if the ball passes the boundary on the ground, it's four runs.


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