Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/155

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133
BOWLING.

if they can." Both bowlers are taken off: the fast right-hander goes on at one end, the leg-break bowler at the other.

Cain has not had much to do lately: his partner seems to be batting both ends. Cain does not mind; he looks on comically, undisturbed. All the same, he is well on the way to a century. Cain often gets 100 runs, sometimes 200. He has to take the fast bowler's first over, and plays it as carefully as ever. The last ball of the over—a very fast one, as the bowler meant it to be—bumps unexpectedly. Cain flinches ever so slightly, just touches the ball, and is caught by short-slip. He cocks his eye thoughtfully at the spot where the ball pitched, walks out and pats the slight roughness there for the benefit of his successor, and then waddles off to the pavilion amid cheers. He acknowledges his reception by lifting his faded chocolate cap in a way entirely peculiar to himself.

Meanwhile the fast bowler is doing up his boot-lace and congratulating himself he noticed that rough patch on the pitch. It took five balls to plant the ball exactly upon it, but the attempt succeeded.

Hareless now comes to the wicket. He is a bigger but cheaper edition of the last player. He gives the impression of being an imitator rather than an original. He has, however, been known to make runs. Rush has now to face the leg-break bowler. He watches him closely, playing back to his good-length balls, and punishing those that are short or over-pitched. The fast bowler has by no means forgotten that spot. He pegs away at it, and occasionally makes a ball bump nastily. He has three slips for Hareless, who dislikes a bumping ball as much as Cain does. The leg-break bowler rather bothers Hareless, but fails to get him to hit out. The scoring goes on for some twenty minutes much as it did before Cain got out. Rush completes his century, amid the vociferous congratulations of the huge ring of spectators. Some old fellows nod their heads, and hazard the remark that it is quite like old times. After this Rush hits harder than ever for an over or two, pulling even the fast bowler round to the on. But he tries it once too often, hits a trifle too soon at a well-bowled slower ball, which towers high up over the wicket-keeper's head. Several fieldsmen begin circling about under the ball, but the "stumper," with a decided "Mine!" claims and secures the catch. The great man goes away, delighted at having found his skill as yet unabated. What a good answer this will be to the critics who have been questioning his value as a member