So it's been a few days, sadly, unless you really really love Austrailia and the Indian Subcontinent, you haven't missed much, as they're the only ones who are getting any action in to speak of (as I write this we have Austraila-New Zealand and South Africa-Bangladesh test matches taking place live) so I thought it would be nice to delve into some of the more bells and whistles aspects of the game, mainly, what they play with.
The way I've always described cricket bats is they're a cross between a faternity paddle and a field hockey stick. The batted side is flat, and the opposite side is curved to help get lift under the ball. (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Cricketbatparts.jpg)
Balls are filled with cork in the middle and wrapped with a hard leather shell (I'm not sure how to convert that into a more recognizable form, so we'll just go with wikipedia) the hardest throwers can throw it 85 to 90 mph ON A HOP. In case I failed to mention the ball has to bounce once before it reaches the batsman, otherwise it's a no ball (the throw doesn't count and the batting team is awarded a run) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Cricketball.png)
Wickets are esstially the bases for cricket. They look like the wickets you would use to play croquet, only there are three of them lined up together and on top of them rest two bails, which allow you to know when the wickets (or stumps) are balanced. If someone is to cross out of their zone, you can get them out by jarring the wickets and knocking the bails off (the offical name for an out is "the fall of a wicket")
In order to get an advantage on running out a hit, the batsmen will step foward when they swing at the ball, so if they miss and it knocks the wicket over they will be out, because they were definately outside of the box.