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A batter is out bowled if his or her wicket is put down by a ball delivered by the bowler. It is irrelevant as to whether the ball has touched the bat, glove, or any part of the batsman before going on to put down the wicket, though it may not touch another player or an umpire before doing so. Such rules mean that bowleds are the most obvious of dismissals: almost never requiring an appeal to the umpire; a bowled batsman will usually acknowledge the dismissal voluntarily.
If the delivered ball deflects off the bat, and bowls the batter, then the informal term is known as played on, knocked on or dragged on. If the wicket is put down without the batter making any sort of contact with the ball, then it is known as clean bowled with variations being 'bowled through the gate', where the ball travels between the bat and pad, or 'bowled around the legs', where the ball goes behind (to the legside of) the batsman and hits the stumps.
A batter is out bowled even if he/she could be given out by another method of dismissal instead. For instance, suppose a ball that pitches in line with the stumps, hits the player on the pads in line with the stumps and would, if it had not hit the pads, have struck the stumps. The player could be out leg before wicket. However, if the ball ricochets off the pads onto the stumps, the batter would be given out bowled instead.
Being out bowled is the second most common method of dismissal after caught. The bowler is credited to have dismissed the batter if a batter is given out bowled.