Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/218

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get slightly over 200 runs. The wicket was rather crumbly. Six wickets fell for 23. But Mr Palairet at the end of the game was not out 83. He managed to secure the bowling over after over, thanks to a judicious use of this back forcing-stroke. It was a magnificent exhibition of cricket, and deservedly saved the match. Different batsmen play the stroke in different ways. Some draw their feet close together, some turn considerably, and some get right in front of their wicket. Personally I move my left foot across the wicket towards point, face the ball with my body from the waist upwards, watch it on to the bat, and despatch it at the last moment by a quick turn of the wrist. The great thing is to have the bat from the start in the line of the ball, so that in the case of a mistake in timing, the ball hits the bat and not the leg. It is always a risky thing to play straight balls with any part of the person in front of the wicket; but so long as the bat is in the right place there is no fear of getting out leg-before. People often say to me, "That leg-stroke of yours is very risky. If you miss the ball you must be out leg-before." Quite so; but one would be out prfetty frequently, clean bowled, if one missed the ball. So it does not make much difference whether or not the legs are in front of the wicket.

Let us now consider batting in relation to the different kinds of bowling. In playing against fast or medium-pace bowling, forward-play is the most useful part of a batsman's repertoire; in playing slow or lob bowling, the fewer forward strokes a batsman attempts the less likely is he to lose his wicket. There are three methods of playing slow or lob bowling: first, to run out to meet the ball so as to be able to hit it either on the full-pitch or the half-volley; secondly, to stand in one's ground and play back or hit, according as the ball is short or pitched up; or thirdly, to play a purely defensive game. All forward-strokes—that is to say, forward push-strokes—should be avoided. Every stroke in playing slow bowling should be either a genuine backstroke or a determined hit. It is a great mistake to hit rashly and wildly at any kind of slow ball, but it is fatal to do so at those pitched rather wide on the off. Such balls are meant to be traps, and should be guarded against. Slow bowlers require more men in the out-field than do medium or fast, so batsmen ought to try to keep the ball well on the ground. In order to do this the ball must be played either on the full-pitch or as soon as possible after it has pitched; that is why it is a good thing to run out to slow bowling. Be very careful, in trying to cut a slow