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15 Corker Cricket Terms, Deciphered

While cricket is often thought of as a British sport, evidence of the game being played in the U.S. dates back to the early 1700s, according to Smithsonian. It was on May 6, 1751 that a U.S. match—between a team of Londoners and a team of New Yorkers—was first publicly reported. In honor of that game, and to decipher some of the seemingly complex intricacies for the uninitiated, check out these 15 corker cricket terms.

1. INNINGS

An innings in cricket is analogous to an inning in baseball, except that the plural is always used in cricket, whether about a single innings or more than one (cricket matches usually max out at two innings). To have a good innings means to have a good run or a long life.

2. GOOGLY

Also known as a wrong ‘un, a googly is a type of throw or bowl in which the spin of the ball causes it to veer sharply to the leg side of a right-handed batsman. The googly is sometimes referred to as a Bosie, named for its inventor, English bowler Bernard Bosanquet. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the origin of googly is unknown, although it might be related to goggle, which describes eyes that are protuberant and rolling.

3. DOOSRA

Related to the googly, the doosra breaks from the leg of a right-handed batsman, and it's bowled in a way to deceive. The term has been used in English since the late 1990s and means “another” or “the other one” in both Hindi and Urdu. The technique was created by Pakistani bowler Saqlain Mushtaq, who was often instructed by his wicket-keeper, Moin Khan: “Doosra abhi karna hai,” or “Bowl the other one now.”

4. JAFFA

A jaffa is a pitch that's exceptionally good. Also known as a corker, the origin of the cricket sense of jaffa is unclear. Jaffa originally referred to an ancient port in Israel, and then a sweet, thick-skinned orange grown near that port. Jaffa cakes are a kind of spongy chocolate-topped cookie with orange-flavored filling. A jaffa in cricket might come from the idea of a particularly good orange or a tasty biscuit.

5. PERHAPSER

A perhapser is a risky or erratic stroke. While the OED cites 1954 as the year of origin, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English says it’s been in use by Australian cricketers since the 1930s.

6. LOLLY

A lolly is an easy catch. The term originated in the early 1920s and might come from lollipop or loll, to hang loosely or be suspended. Other words for easy catches include dolly, gaper,and percher (especially when the easy catch was missed).

7. HOWZAT

“Howzat?” a fielder might ask an umpire, meaning "How's that batsman? Is he out or not?" Howzat can be shortened even further to “zat.”

8. BREAK ONE’S DUCK

To break one’s duck means to score a first run in an innings, thus breaking a duck’s egg, or zero score. A duck’s egg is also known as a blob while a duck can refer to a player who hasn't scored.

9. RED-INKER

A red-inker is an undefeated or “not out” batsman. The term comes from the practice of using red ink to enter undefeated innings in a scorebook.

10. DOROTHY DIX

Dorothy Dix is Australian rhyming slang for a score of six runs. The term was originally Australian political slang referring to a question asked in Parliament which the respondent knows will be asked. This comes from the pseudonym of American journalist, Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer, who wrote an advice column for which she often devised her own questions.

11. STICKY WICKET

A wicket in cricket refers to a set of three sticks, or stumps, at which the bowler aims and the batsman defends. The ground between two sets of stumps is also known as the wicket, which after a rain can cause the ball to behave unpredictably, hence the phrase sticky wicket. The 1880s is the first time sticky wicket is used in a literal sense, and it's around the 1950s that the phrase began to be used to refer to any difficult situation.

12. SNICKOMETER

The Snickometer, also known as the Snicko, is an audio and visual slow motion device invented in the 1990s by British computer scientist Alan Paskett. The Snicko allows umpires to determine whether or not the ball has touched the bat or batsman, which in turn determines whether or not a batsman is out.

13. OFFER THE LIGHT

When an umpire asks a batsman if he wants to continue playing in bad light, he’s offering the light. However, as of 2010, umpires are allowed make decisions about bad light without consulting the batsman.

14. NERVOUS NINETIES

The nervous nineties might occur after a batsman has scored more than 90 runs in an innings and is feeling the pressure to score a century, or a hundred runs, considered a milestone in cricket. Analogous are the yips in golf, a state of anxiety that causes the golfer to miss easy shots.

15. THE ASHES

The Ashes refers to a long-time rivalry between England and Australia in the form of the Test cricket series. Test is the longest form of cricket, with matches lasting as long as five days. The series is held every two years and the winner is awarded the Ashes trophy, a tiny urn that legends says holds the ashes of two burned cricket bails.

The tradition started in 1882, when Australia beat England for the first time on English soil. British weekly The Sporting Times printed a mock obituary of “English cricket which died at the Oval,” a cricket ground in London. The obit noted that “the body” would be “cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”

The English cricket team vowed to regain the figurative ashes, and at one point the English captain, Ivo Bligh, was gifted a small urn by a group of women, including Florence Morphy, who’d later become his wife.

To this day the Ashes gets passed between the two countries (metaphorically), depending on who the winner is, which at last count was England.

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Watch These Surfers Crush Nantucket's 'Slurpee' Waves
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Instead of hunkering down with Netflix and hot chocolate during the East Coast’s recent cold snap, surfers Nick Hayden and Jamie Briard spent the first few days of January 2018 conquering icy waves in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The frothy swells resembled a frozen 7-Eleven Slurpee, so photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh, a friend of the athletes, grabbed his camera to capture the phenomenon, according to deMilked.

The freezing point for salt water is 28.4°F, but undulating ocean waves typically move too much for ice particles to form. At Nantucket’s Nobadeer Beach, however, conditions were just right for a thick layer of frost to form atop the water’s surface for several hours. Some of the slushy crests were even surfable before melting after about three hours, Nimerfroh told Live Science.

This is the second time Nimerfroh has photographed so-called “Slurpee waves." He captured a similar scene on February 27, 2015, telling The New York Times, “I saw these crazy half-frozen waves. Usually on a summer day you can hear the waves crashing, but it was absolutely silent. It was like I had earplugs in my ears.”

Check out Nimerfroh’s video of surfers enjoying the icy swell below.

[h/t deMilked]

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Why Is the University of Georgia's Mascot a Bulldog?
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Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

For licensing purposes and the all-important "aww" factor, collegiate football teams like their mascots—and few are as popular as Uga, the handsome bulldog of University of Georgia fame.

When Herman J. Stegeman took over as head coach in 1920, the team, which had previously been referred to as the Red and Black, became known as the Wildcats. Atlanta Journal sportswriter Morgan Blake took issue with the unoriginal moniker, pointing out that it was already shared by at least two other teams in the south—Kentucky State and Davidson.

"I had hoped that Georgia would adopt some original nickname that would stand out," Blake wrote, adding that, "The 'Georgia Bulldogs' would sound good, because there is a certain dignity about a bulldog as well as ferocity, and the name is not as common as 'Wildcats' and 'Tigers.' Yale is about the only team I recall right now that has the name."

One week after Blake's story ran, Cliff Wheatley of the Atlanta Constitution referred to Georgia as the Bulldogs several times in his recap of the team's tie at Virginia. The new nickname quickly caught on, and it wasn't long before the sidelines began to see a succession of canines offering their moral support. A fan named Warren Coleman took his bulldog, Mr. Angel, to games from 1944 to 1946; another bulldog, Butch, served as a mascot from 1947 to 1950 (before he was tragically shot by police who mistook him for a stray).

The Uga lineage began in 1956, when a dog owner named Cecelia Seiler dressed her bulldog in a children's-sized team jersey and took him to home games. Uga I patrolled the field for a decade before his son, Uga II, took up the mantle. Uga V, who reigned from 1990 to 1999, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Uga X, the current bulldog in residence, has been rooting for the team since 2015.

In deference to the dog's position, the University of Georgia goes to considerable lengths to make sure Uga is comfortable during the game. His doghouse is air-conditioned for the warmer months and his jerseys are custom-made. When one of the Uga clan passes, they're buried on stadium grounds in a marble vault. Apparently, not even death will prevent a loyal Georgia mascot from showing their support.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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