Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/70

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The normal position of point is somewhere on a line drawn half-way between the two creases and parallel to them. He should stand much like slip, slightly bending forwards, his hands in front of him ready to receive the ball. The distance at which point should stand varies according to the pace of the bowling, the pace of the wicket, and the hitting powers of the batsman in point's direction. The common fault of points is to stand far too deep. Sometimes the place they select is ridiculously distant. The slower the bowling and wicket, the nearer should point stand: in any circumstances, he may safely come quite close up to a weak or pokey batsman. Dr E. M. Grace and Sir T. C. O'Brien frequently catch the ball within a few feet of the bat. Both of them are fine points. Dr E. M. Grace was unrivalled in his day. Mr A. E. Trott, the Australian captain, is an excellent point. His hands are most adhesive. There is no doubt that fielding at point admits of many interesting developments. Proper fielding in this position is something quite different from taking up one's stand as a kind of privileged spectator of the game, occasionally picking up an almost stationary ball.


This position is never a sinecure, quite the contrary. A good third-man can save a lot of runs, and often run a batsman out. But the ball comes more awkwardly here than anywhere else in the field. There is always some spin on the ball, which sometimes acts and sometimes does not, according as the ball bites or fails to bite the ground. When the spin does act, the ball breaks sharply from right to left. Any fumbling or misfielding at third-man means an absolutely safe run to the other side. Even if the ball be picked up clean, it is by no means easy to prevent two determined runners getting a run every time the ball is hit towards third-man. It is sometimes said that there is always a run to third-man. Perhaps that rather exceeds the truth, but it is certainly very difficult to prevent occasional short runs.

The exact position of third-man varies according to the state of the ground and the cutting power of the batsman. Third-man should make quite sure that he is in his right place, and will do well to consult the bowler, whenever there is any uncertainty, as to whether he should be deep or near, square or fine. As to