A Lazy But Smart Guide To Understanding Cricket (And Cricket-Related Sinhala Words)

dilshan jayasinha cricket lazy but smart sinhala

Photo Credits: Awesome Father

Look at that smile! That big fat giddy smile!

That’s the same moronic expression I’ve had on my chubby cheeks since Sri Lanka won the T20 Cricket World cup a month ago.

Yes, a full month has passed but still the occasional involuntary outbursts of “Go Lions!!!” tend to spurt out of me at the worst of times (Note to self: stay away from libraries and funerals for a while…).

Some of you were rather direct in asking me to write this post; others were more subtle… “I heard you guys won something, but sadly I don’t know much about the sport.. sigh (hint hint!)”.

So this is me introducing this wonderful sport of cricket (to some of you) and at the same time teaching some new Sinhala words (to all of you)…


The Approach


First of all, I’ll ease up on the “Go Lions!” comments…

I’ll try to keep this post country-neutral as I don’t want to annoy any of you patriotic cricket fans out there. Already, a post on cricket is not going to be for everyone. No need to alienate more people.


Here’s how I approached this blog post:

While living in Europe, especially during the last 6 years or so, whenever Sri Lanka came into the finals of a world cup (an amazing FIVE times!!!… Stop it Dilshan, you promised) I watched these matches with some of my European friends who had no clue about this sport.

So my approach for this post was simple: I remembered how I explained the bare minimum of cricket so that they could follow and enjoy the game with me (and obviously, so that they stop bothering me with questions every 5 minutes!).

I hope you’ll understand it as well as they did… And trust me, if they could get it, so can you :-)


Here’s the structure:

Cricket in Sinhala - Structure1

Let’s get started with some basics in Section 1 then…


The Basics of Cricket That You’ll First Need To Know

1.1 What kind of field is Cricket played on?

Cricket Ground in Sinhala

(Click the image to see the related Sinhala words)


  • Cricket is a team sport played on a large oval shaped grass field (usually called a “Cricket Ground”)
  • At the center of the field, there is a rectangular hard-surfaced area with shorter grass called the “Pitch”.
    • This is where most of the action takes place
  • On both ends of the pitch, you have 3 wooden stumps called “Wickets”.
  • The outside border of the field is called the “Boundary”
    • You’ll soon see that this plays an important part when it comes to scoring


A note about the Sinhala cricket words…

Speaking about cricket to someone in Sinhala is the EASIEST thing since most of the words we use will be the equivalent English words to which the Sinhala word “é∙kȧ” (which means “one”) is added after it. Examples below.

But at the same time, we also have the “real” Sinhala words…

So I’ve also included them below since these are the words TV commentators would use during a match. But really, you don’t need to know most of them.

(However, if you want to impress a Sri Lankan friend of yours, then by all means go for it!)


So remember…

YELLOW background = Normal day-to-day words

GREY background = Commentator “words”


Related Sinhala Words:

Cricket Groundgrawund (“ground”)   é∙kȧ      
Pitchpich (“pitch”)   é∙kȧ      
tha∙nȧ   thee∙ru∙wȧ      
Wicketwi∙kȧt (“wicket”)   é∙kȧ      
Boundarybawunri (“boundary”)   é∙kȧ      
ha∙thȧ∙ré   see∙maa∙vȧ      


Click to play with the Flashcards: Cricket Ground in Sinhala


1.2 How is it played?

  • There are 2 teams with 11 players on each side
  • Each team will take turns to “bat” (hit a ball) using a wooden bat and score points
  • The other team will “bowl” a hard ball made of cork and leather to the player with the bat


cricket bat & ball in sinhala - thumbnail

(Click the image to see the related Sinhala words)


Related Sinhala Words:

Batbæt (“bat”)   é∙kȧ      


Click to play with the Flashcards: Cricket Bat & Ball in Sinhala


1.3 What the hell’s a “Batsman”, “Bowler”, & “Fielder”?

There are many positions & roles that cricket players take during a match. However, the following are the only important ones you’ll need to know to be able to follow a match.


Player Positions Thumnail-1

(Click the image to see the related Sinhala words)

  • “Batsman”: The player holding the bat, awaiting the delivery of the ball to hit it. At any given time you’ll see two batsmen at each wicket (one will be facing the delivery of the ball)
  • “Bowler”: The player delivering (“bowling”) the ball to the batsman
  • “Fielder”: One of the 10 remaining players on the same side as the bowler, who tries to stop (“field”) the ball. They are strategically placed around the cricket ground
  • “Wicket Keeper”: Technically a fielder but with an important position right behind the batsman and the wicket
  • “Umpire”: The match official making rulings on the field. On field there’ll always be two of them


Related Sinhala Words:

Batsmanbæts∙mȧn (“batsman”)      
pi∙thi   ka∙ru∙wa      
Bowlerlȧ (“bowler”)      
pan∙dhu   ya∙van∙na      
Fielderfeel∙dȧ (“fielder”)      
pan∙dhu   ra∙kin∙na      
Wicket Keeperkee∙pȧ (“keeper”)      
ka∙du∙lu   ra∙kin∙na      
Umpiream∙pa∙yȧ (“Umpire”)      
vi∙nish∙yȧ   ka∙ru∙wa      


Click to play with the Flashcards: Cricket Player Positions in Sinhala





Step-by-Step Walkthrough of a Cricket Match

2.1 Deciding who bats first:

  • First, there is a Coin Toss between the 2 teams (let’s call them Team A and Team B) to decide who bats or bowls first
    • The decision usually depends on the type of pitch, the weather, and the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses
    • Let’s assume that Team A wins the coin toss and decides to “bat” first


2.1 Start of Play:

  • Team A will then send in 2 “batsmen” (remember, there are always 2 batsmen at a time),
  • Team B will send in their entire team of 11 players.
    • One of them will be the “bowler”;
    • One of them the “wicket-keeper”, and
    • The other 9 will be strategically placed around the grounds (the “fielders”).
  • A bowler can consecutively bowl 6 balls at a time; after that a different player needs to bowl the next 6 balls.
    • A set of 6 balls is called an “over”. Depending on the format of the game (see box below) a team will bowl a specified number of overs:

BOX 1: Different Formats Of Cricket

There are 3 main versions of the game based on the number of overs bowled by a team.

  • 20 overs a side: Called “Twenty 20” or T20. This is the shortest version of the game. This simply means that the bowling side bowls a total of (6 x 20) = 120 balls to the batting side
  • 50 overs a side: Called “Limited Over Match”, “One Day International” or “ODI”. The bowling side bowls a total of (6 x 50) = 300 balls to the batting side
  • Test match: Unlimited number of overs but total duration is limited to 5 days (and yes, they do stop the match for sleeping at night)


In this example, I’ll be describing T20 cricket.


2.3 Scoring in cricket:

  • When the ball is bowled to the batsman, he attempts to strike it to an area in the grounds that is vacant from a fielder.
  • To score points in cricket (called “runs”), the batsmen need to run past each other to the opposite ends of the pitch.
    • If they run once, then 1 run is scored (2 if they ran twice, etc) – I’ll soon explain what determines how many times they run.
    • If the batsman gets the ball past the fielders and the ball reaches the edge of the ground (the “boundary”), the team scores 4 runs
    • Similarly, if the ball is hit over the fielders and lands beyond the boundary, the team scores 6 runs (these are the most exciting to watch!)
    • And of course, if they don’t run, nothing is added to the score and the bowler gets ready to bowl the next ball


2.4 Dismissing a batsman:

  • When the batsmen are running, if the ball is returned to a wicket before one of them reaches the said wicket, the batsman is dismissed and can’t bat anymore (the batsman is considered “out”).
    • This is why, depending on how quickly the fielder stops and returns the ball, the batsman will decide if they take 1, 2, or 3 runs. If they misjudge it, one of them could get “out”.
  • There are a number of ways the bowling side can get a batsman out. See box below for the most common:

BOX 2: Common Ways To Get Out In Cricket

  • Run out: This is what we just now saw. When taking a run, the batsman fails to make it back to his respective wicket before the ball is returned to the wicket
  • Caught: The ball is hit in the air and a fielder catches it before it hits the ground
  • Bowled: The ball goes past the batsman and hits the wicket
  • Leg-before-wicket (“LBW”): When the ball hits the leg pads of the batsman and the umpire decides that it would have gone on to hit the wicket
  • Stumped: When the ball goes past the batsman, if the wicket keeper collects it and strikes the wicket with it (provided that the batsman is outside a specific distance from the wicket)
  • When a batsman gets out, he’ll leave the ground and a new one comes in to replace him.


2.5 Reaching the half-way point of the match:

  • The half-way point is when either the 10th batsman of Team A is out or the allocated number of overs – in this case 20 – are up (whichever comes first).
  • The total runs that the team has scored will be the target score to win


2.6 How is the game won?

  • Team B will now send in 2 batsmen.
  • Team B will try to win by:
    • Trying to score the targeted runs within the allocated 20 overs
  • On the other hand, Team A will try to win by either:
    • getting all of Team B’s batsmen out before the target score is reached; or
    • by bowling and fielding so well (and thereby restricting the number of runs) that Team B is unable to reach the target score within the allocated overs


And that’s it!

Box 3: Interpreting The Score In Cricket

If someone tells you the current score is:

“100 for 3 in 15 overs”

then this is how you’d interpret it:

“The team currently batting has scored 100 runs within 15 overs (15 x 6 = 90 balls) and 3 batsmen are already out (with 7 yet to bat)”


Related Sinhala Words:

“Over”ō∙vȧr (“over”)   é∙kȧ      
pan∙dhu   vaa∙rȧ∙yȧ      
“Runs”rans (“runs”)      
A “Four”ha∙thȧ∙rak      
ha∙thȧ∙ré   pa∙ha∙rak      
A “Six”ha∙yak      
ha∙yé   pa∙ha∙rak      


Click to play with the Flashcards: Other Cricket Words in Sinhala

There you go… I honestly think that this is all you need to know to enjoy watching cricket.

In case you’ve got any questions about cricket or the new Sinhala words you learned today, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

And in case you want to know where I get all my news updates concerning Sri Lankan cricket… I’d be happy to share it with you:


Island Cricket

Your one stop shop for all things Sri Lankan cricket

And I’m not just saying that because I know the founder since I was 10 and we used to run into each other (or rather, “swim” into each other) as kids at our school swimming pool :)

So don’t take my word for it, see for yourself by clicking below (and you can thank me later).

(Note: This is not an affiliate link and I don’t get any compensation from it. Just recommending a damn good website to you nice people).


Island Cricket - Where I get all my Sri Lankan cricket news updates

www.islandcricket.lk – Where I get all my Sri Lankan cricket news updates


Oh, and before I leave…



fly interruption

Bonus pic: What happens when a damn fly suddenly lands on your ear during a photo shoot…

Enroll for free in my new Sinhala email course!

Click below to begin a personalized 8-lesson course that'll teach you the most useful concepts to get you started on your Sinhala adventure.

34 Responses to A Lazy But Smart Guide To Understanding Cricket (And Cricket-Related Sinhala Words)

  1. Laura May 3, 2014 at 13:28 #

    That’s aaaaaaaaawesome! Thank you! Now that the matches against England are approaching I needed a quick review on the basics. It’ll be even more fun to watch.

    PS: sleep tight party-guy ;)

    Take care,

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 3, 2014 at 13:44 #

      Thanks Laura! Yes, I just saw an update that the Sri Lankan team left today for the tour in England. It’s going to be an awesome couple of weeks ahead. Completely different pitch and weather conditions over there so it should be very interesting to see how our boys handle it…

      (Spoiler alert! They’ll do just fine ;)).

      Take care and talk again soon.

  2. Aravind May 3, 2014 at 15:50 #

    Thank you so much Dilshan, this is really awesome stuff. Have learnt so much from you already and with all these constant updates I never do stop, I sincerely appreciate all that you have done.
    Hope you don’t over exert yourself though, do take care of your health! :D

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 3, 2014 at 16:10 #

      That’s very nice of you to say Aravind. I’m happy to hear that you’re continuing to learn new stuff from me.

      Haha, thanks for the concern about the over-exertion but don’t worry, I’ve had a good rest in the afternoon and am actually going out for dinner again tonight (some people never learn, do they? :)

      Take care buddy and thanks again.

  3. Demi May 3, 2014 at 17:31 #

    Bless you for this! Currently saw this on my e-mail while watching Cricket. Absolutely weird but definitely the best timing.
    Also, going to start playing Cricket in the UK by God’s grace. It’s the lesser popular sports that can be the most exciting. Watching the Sri Lankans in the crowd and you see such a huge sense of family and fandom! Love it!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 3, 2014 at 20:43 #

      Oh wow, talk about perfect timing! :)

      Yes, I’ve been lucky to have watched Sri Lanka play and have been a part of that crowd that you mentioned. Unforgettable experience.

      All the best with your cricket aspirations in the UK. Let me know how it goes.

      Take care Demi.

  4. John May 3, 2014 at 20:58 #


    I could cry – I finally have this knowledge. So simple! I was in Sri Lanka for the championship last month, watching it on TV with a bunch of Sri Lankans who couldn’t speak English well, and I was totally in the dark (and they were in no mood to have interrupting questions, either). I knew it was like American baseball, but not enough like it to figure out just by watching. Two batters – what? Not running when the ball was hit – what? And the wicket was just baffling. I won’t share some of the rules I was imagining while trying to figure it out.

    I will mark this day in my calendar as a milestone of my enlightenment. Thank you.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 4, 2014 at 07:57 #

      Hi John,

      You know, when I write these posts, as much as I’m doing it out of pleasure to satisfy my own creative needs, I rarely admit it but there’s always that hidden wish that it’ll (hopefully) impact others and make some kind of contribution to their lives. But I never expected SUCH a positive reaction! Thank you so much for your comment; it made me feel very proud of this piece! Thank you.

      Regarding baseball, I thought of drawing comparisons to baseball when writing this but decided against it assuming that it might add more confusion to those who are unfamiliar with that sport. I might actually reconsider that and make a few updates above.

      Thanks again John and I’m glad you’re officially going to be a cricket fan now. Say good bye to precious hours of productivity that you’ll spend in front of the TV watching cricket instead :)

  5. Chandra May 4, 2014 at 03:01 #

    Thank you so much. I did not know any of these sinhala words that we use in cricket. Your blog was fantastic . you deserve those parties you had.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 4, 2014 at 08:01 #

      Hello Chandra, how are you? Thanks for the nice comment. Yes, all these words are very frequently used in Sinhala commentary but rarely in normal conversation. For example, when speaking to a friend if I say pandhuwa instead of “bolaya”, they’ll ask me to sit down and check if I’m running a fever… :)

      Talk to you again soon!

  6. Shagerina Tilakasiri May 4, 2014 at 11:01 #

    Great post Dilshan! I also learned new terms in English cos Im not really familiar with cricket and baseball terms. Except for football :D

    Thanks Dilshan and u look great with the wide smile !

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 4, 2014 at 19:00 #

      Hi Shaggy, that’s perfect because for once, I didn’t put too much emphasis on Sinhala, but instead on the subject itself (in this case, cricket). Happy that you feel more familiar with the sport now.

      Haha, thanks for the comment about the wide smile. I reserve those only for Sri Lankan cricket wins and when I see nice comments on my blog :)

      Thanks and take care.

  7. Elizabeth May 4, 2014 at 15:23 #

    Hi Dilshan

    When I was younger, my Dad & I used to listen to cricket test matches. If I remember the Aussie team captain was Bill Lawry, but don’t remember the rest of the team. Then we did not have a TV back in Sri Lanka. But here they do not play the game neither a cricket game show to watch on TV. This sunny game has been my favourite ever since I was little. Now my only option is to read the Sri Lanka Daily News paper on internet on a daily basis or at least to know how Sri Lanka team has fared.

    Elizabeth T

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 4, 2014 at 19:08 #

      Hi Elizabeth, that’s a precious memory of listening to test cricket commentary. Bill Lawry, if I’m not mistaken, still does commentary for some matches. As you may know there is a Sri Lankan tour in England coming up and watching the guys play classic test cricket (after having watched so many T20 matches) would be a welcome change. Really looking forward to that. I hope you find a way to keep updated on it. Take care and thanks for sharing that.

      • Elizabeth May 5, 2014 at 17:55 #


        You are absolutely right, Bill Lawry is still commenting. I will never forget
        the excitement I had when there was a test match, mainly with the Aussie
        team vs our Sri Lanka team. I have no idea why I favoured the Aussie team.
        Those happy days will never come back. Only if I can put the clock back.

        Anyway so much so for cricket.


  8. Tim May 4, 2014 at 20:22 #

    Its great. I have my Sri Lanka cricket shirt that I wear on occasion here in the States. Most peopke have no idea what it is, they look at me strangely like I might be some player, I dont say anything, let them think it.

    I would love for you to do a more advanced version for us Americans that nee some more advanced instruction.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 5, 2014 at 07:56 #

      Tim, that’s awesome! Yes, let them think you’re part of the team :) The one I’m wearing is the current outfit they wear for T20 matches. So, assuming you have the same one, they’ll even think you’re part of the world champion team!

      Take care.

  9. Domoina May 5, 2014 at 07:36 #

    Hi Dilshan
    Thanks, at least i have some clue :)
    but frankly speaking, i didnt catch the whole of it yet LOL will read again and again and watch match to see each of the move maybe

    May i please put a request : would it be too much if i ask some basics sinhala-french ? As you have been in Europe…

    Thanks again and have a nice week

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 5, 2014 at 07:58 #

      Domoina, hi!

      Please post all your questions here because that would really help me understand where I’ve not been clear. That way, I can update this post and make it more cricket-novice friendly.

      What did you mean by basic Sinhala-French? You mean to add French words after the Sinhala words in blog posts? Please let me know.

      • Domoina May 6, 2014 at 09:27 #

        Hi Dilshan
        yes, you know like how to say bonjour, comment ca va, au revoir…il pleut etc
        well… the great stuff that you usually do :)

        I will find a time to look at some cricket match and get back to you

      • Domoina May 6, 2014 at 09:28 #

        I should have said Jaya wewa instead of cheers :)

        • Dilshan Jayasinha May 8, 2014 at 06:27 #

          Ok, understood. Can’t promise much but will see what I can do. Take care.

  10. Heather May 6, 2014 at 03:56 #

    Thank you VERY MUCH Dilshan for this long (and I thought futilely) awaited explanation. No one else seemed even willing. But where does Tea Time come in? (I heard about this in Australia). :)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 6, 2014 at 07:40 #

      Hello Heather,

      You’re very welcome. The “Tea” interval is only during those 5-day test matches I mentioned, where players take a break for around 20 minutes (usually around 3.30 p.m.). I actually wondered if nowadays they actually drink tea during that break or if it’s just Gatorade :)

      • heather May 8, 2014 at 05:29 #

        Yes… good-bye romantic idea of tea-time….. and I did get desperate enough to ask Canadians if they knew about cricket. I just got a puzzled look and “is there a hockey puck involved?” What was I thinking?!

  11. Shaff May 6, 2014 at 07:27 #

    Thank you Dilshan, Great Post as always :)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 6, 2014 at 08:15 #

      Hi Shaff, glad you like it. Hope you’ll now be able to enjoy the cricket matches better when you do your frequent holidays in Sri Lanka :) Take care.

  12. Andrea May 6, 2014 at 14:12 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    as you already know I am a big fan of this sport and even without knowledge it makes fun to watch it. I followed the world championship with big interest but not understanding everything. I have also searched the internet for some explanations but none was so transparent and clear like yours. Some confused me even more like before. Since I am now going to be an expert I am looking forward to the next national matches concerning the Sri Lankan team. I will enjoy the difference between just noticing how many points are given and knowing why these points are given. Thanks a lot for that! Excellent work as usual!

    Many greetings from cloudy and rainy Germany


    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 8, 2014 at 06:26 #

      Hi Andrea,

      I’m so glad to hear that, especially coming from you since you were one of the readers I had in mind when writing this post. Very happy that you found it transparent and clear!! Thank you.

      Many greetings from “Mostly-sunny-but-suddenly-rainy” Colombo (in fact, I just now brought in some of my clothes that were put to dry in the backyard. The rain came from nowhere!)

  13. shafna November 4, 2014 at 12:57 #

    Hi Dilshan
    Could you please tell me how to say the followings in sinhala
    1. Don’t try to cheat me
    2. don’t blame others for your mistakes
    3. I don’t want any advice from you
    4. try to be a genius [like Dilshan] ;D
    5. Don’t you want to talk with me
    6. study hard so you can achieve your goal.

    And also dilshan i need to know how to join two different sentence.
    for example, i need to study today because i am having an exam tomorrow.
    I hope you can build up a new lesson using this idea.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2014 at 15:55 #

      Hi Shafna, unfortunately I’m a little too busy these days to do translations. Will try and integrate them into a future blog post hopefully. Take care.

  14. Jothy November 13, 2014 at 03:59 #

    Hi Dilshan,
    Interesting to read that you are living Europe and a Cricket fan. I, too, was living in Europe (Strasbourg, France from 1984 to 1997 before I moved to Canada. I’m a founder of a Cricket club and the club is still running (leather ball) and I was also a pioneer member of the Umpires’ Association in France. I visited Strasbourg this summer and had the opportunity to umpire for our club. Hope to visit Strasbourg every year and participate in Cricket and also continue my course in Sinhala with you.


Leave a Reply