Let us now follow the captain who has won the toss, and see what he has to do about his side's batting.
The moment he has decided to take the innings there is a small matter to be attended to. It is a rule that the wicket be not rolled till ten minutes before the innings begins. As a corollary, the toss should be decided in time to allow the full use of this ten minutes. On most good grounds two rollers are kept—one heavy, the other light. A captain should give precise instructions which he desires to be used. His choice will be guided by the knowledge he already has acquired as to the state of the wicket. When the wicket is hard and true, it does not make the slightest difference which roller is requisitioned. When the wicket is inclined to crumble, it is a mistake to put on the heavy roller, because it is very likely to break up the wicket still further, and make little cracks where the ground was sound before. The action of a heavy roller on a ground that is damp or soaked is to squeeze the water up to the surface. If, therefore, the ground is sticky, the heavy roller should be used, as it causes the water to well up and turn the stickiness into mere soddenness, so that for a few overs at any rate it plays more easily. A caking wicket is likely to be damaged by the heavy roller somewhat in the same way as a crumbly one. On a ground that is drying slowly but surely, the best thing to do is to dispense with rolling altogether, as the wicket is fairly easy, and the captain hopes that his side will last over the drying process till the ground is hard again. Such a wicket dries more readily without being rolled. When the wicket is really soaked, either roller or none may be employed. As a matter of practice, most captains leave the rolling to the groundman, who may usually be trusted to know what is best, and act accordingly. But the captain should observe what is being done, so as to prevent the making of any obvious mistake. Groundmen sometimes use the roller that is nearest to hand, without troubling about the probable result. There is nothing to prevent a captain personally consulting the groundman and asking his advice. The value of the advice depends upon the value of the groundman.
The captain of the ingoing side has two duties to perform in connection with the batting of his side. The first is, to arrange the order in which his eleven goes to the wicket; the second, to keep an eye on the progress of events.
He ought to have thought out the best order some time before, so that he may be quite ready to write it out directly after tossing, should he win and take the innings, or lose and