Cricket is a bat-and-ball team sport that is first documented as being played in southern England in the 16th century. A cricket match is played on a cricket field at the centre of which is a pitch. The match is contested between two teams of eleven players each.
The pitch is 22 yards (20 m) long between the wickets and is 10 feet (3.0 m) wide. Each wicket consists of three wooden stumps placed in a straight line and surmounted by two wooden crosspieces called bails; the total height of the wicket including bails is 28.5 inches (720 mm) and the combined width of the three stumps is 9 inches (230 mm). Four lines, known as creases, are painted onto the pitch around the wicket areas to define the batsman's "safe territory" and to determine the limit of the bowler's approach. These are called the "popping" (or batting) crease, the bowling crease and two "return" creases.
The stumps are placed in line on the bowling creases and so these must be 22 yards (20 m) apart. A bowling crease is 8 feet 8 inches (2.6 m) long with the middle stump placed dead centre. The popping crease has the same length, is parallel to the bowling crease and is 4 feet (1.2 m) in front of the wicket. The return creases are perpendicular to the other two; they are adjoined to the ends of the popping crease and are drawn through the ends of the bowling crease to a length of at least 8 feet (2.4 m).