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Do you get confused by cricketing slang? If so, wonder no more after reading our A-Z guide to the jargon.


BITE The amount of turn a spinner is able to extract from a particular wicket. And once Murali gets his teeth into you, it is definitely a case of once bitten, twice shy.
BLOCK Defensive batting stroke expertly played by Geoff Boycott, whose repetitive blocking tactics often sent fielders to sleep, enabling him to cut loose.
BOUNCER Ugly brute of a delivery - quick, short and designed to take the batsman's head off if he doesn't take evasive action. Not to be confused with bouncer - ugly brute designed to take your head off.
CHINAMAN A deceptive delivery from a left-arm spinner, which fools the batsman into thinking it will spin from off to leg and does the opposite. May cause him to cry: "Well I'm a Dutchman!" Possibly.
DRIVE Attacking, punchy, front-foot shot straight down the ground or through the covers. Michael Vaughan is one of the best drivers in the business - along with Michael Schumacher.
DUCK A batsman removed from the attack without troubling the scorers. So called (perhaps) because a duck's egg is shaped like a zero. Plus it sounds better than hen. A golden duck is when this fate falls upon the batsman on his very first bowl.
FEATHER The faintest of edges from a batsman - often resulting in a catch behind. Also known as a tickle.
FLIPPER An underhand delivery used by a leg-spin bowler which comes at the batsman faster than a standard ball, with backspin. Gets Shane Warne's seal of approval.
FULL TOSS A bowling delivery that reaches the batsman without bouncing - usually despatched for four. Unlike the beamer, which just takes your head off on its way through.
GARDENING A batsman prodding down loose areas of the pitch with the end of his bat. In Glenn McGrath's case, it means planting seeds of doubt in the batsman's mind before uprooting his wicket.
GOOGLY A leg spinner's prize weapon bowled out of the back of the hand. It looks like a normal leg spinner but turns towards the batsman, like an off break, rather than away from the bat.
GRUBBER A delivery that keeps low after leaving the bowler's hand. So called because it inches along the ground - and then turns into a butterfly. OK, we made that last bit up.
HOOK A reflex action shot to the onside aimed at keeping a short ball from smacking you plum in the face. Ian Botham often used to play it with his eyes closed.
JAFFA An unplayable delivery - think Shane Warne's "Ball of the Century" to remove Mike Gatting at Old Trafford in 1993. Less effective when using an orange, obviously.
MAIDEN When an over is bowled and no runs are scored from it. Rumoured to take its name from a beautiful woman, who 'bowled' over a young cricketer.
PAD A protective covering for the legs of the batsmen and wicketkeeper. If a cricketer ever suggests "Your pad or mine", check what he's after before uttering your reply.
PIE THROWER An inferior bowler, one who bowls like a clown throwing a pie. Not to be confused with the likes of Merv Hughes and Mike Gatting, who were, of course, famed pie-eaters.
PLUMB The perfect lbw. When the ball hits a batsman on the leg directly in front of the stumps. One might also describe it as a peach of a delivery, although a pair is a different thing altogether.
SESSION A period of play during a match - eg morning, afternoon, evening sessions. If, however, you are a spectator, you will only experience one period - the all-day session.
SLEDGING To tell your opponent what you think about him in a less than complimentary fashion. One of the most legendary examples featured Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad calling Aussie pace bowler Merv Hughes "a fat bus conductor". When he dismissed Javed shortly afterwards, Hughes called out "Ding ding! Tickets please!"
SILLY Any fielding position where you are extremely close to the batsman and in danger of being injured. When the captain orders you to silly mid-off, you know he's got a new favourite.
SLIP Fielding positions close to the wicket-keeper. Can contain up to five players, making a slip cordon. Takes on a different meaning when an easy catch ("dolly") is spilled.
SWEEP Risky, but effective shot played with the back knee on the ground to despatch to square leg balls which keep low. Not to be confused with the puppet of the same name.
TAIL Usually refers to the last four batsmen in the order, who are invariably all bowlers. If they play above themselves, the tail is said to wag. Woof woof!
WRONG'UN An Australian term for a googly. See above for googly. That's enough about googlies.


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