Cricket is in many ways the perfect internet summer sport. The scorecard ticks over, sipping at bandwidth, and not much happens for long periods of time so the day job remains in situ and life goes on regardless. The only problem comes when wickets fall, centuries are scored or other, critical willow-and-leather phenomena take place. You don't want to be last to hear what's happened or be temped by an 'ooh', 'yes!' or 'no-o-o-o-o' from the far corner of the office. Never is this more of a problem than during an Ashes series in England so CIO decided to take an empirical approach, examining through its state-of-the-art labs the most popular websites.
The Verdict: Go to the unfathomably wonderful CricInfo. It has everything you need to follow the game with a huge range of options, all of them easily discoverable thanks to a rather fine text-intensive user interface. Most important of all, it is by a small margin the fastest site at updating among the group we tested. The text commentary is also sound and relevant.
The BBC Ashes scorecard is fast -- almost as fast as CricInfo in our benchmarking exercise -- but the lack of a rapid auto-refresh mechanism is a pain in the bails and you'll need a Flash player installed to see the video scoreboard. The commentary appears to be by a wiseacre student on work experience.
Stickcricket.com is fast but slowed down by page loads.
Sportinglife.com is very slow compared to rivals, according to our tests but, so long as it's not about speed to knowledge for you, the commentary (select 'desktop scorecard') is likeable and knowledgable.