The fielder basked in the sun but it was the batsman who was soaking up the adulation. The crowd’s rapturous applause thundered deep into the ears of the fielder. Culpable of dropping a catch only an hour ago, fingertips at fault, guilt now rippled through the veins of the sweat-drenched fielder.
There’d be no opportunity to make amends, no chance to redeem. It was far too late for that. As the batsman went on, 110, 120, 150, the pain only grew worse for the forlorn fielder. Against the backdrop of a setting sun the sun set on the fielder’s career. Dusk settled on the fielder’s time at the top but dawn was rising on the young batsman’s passage.
Setting and rising, dusk and dawning. Over the young batsman observers were fawning but the fielder had graced the field of green for one last morning. As the day evaporated and afternoon became evening, people drew curtains in houses across the land whilst the curtain closed on the fielder’s stage.
With ball in hand the Australian hopped toward the painted white line. Gracefully he arched his arm before bringing it down in whip like fashion. The rustic red orb released from his fingers. Above the barren surface the battered and bruised ball approached the Englishman. It landed in the rough and spat out like a taipan in the grasslands, turning towards the batsman with venom. With willow in both hands the cream clothed cricketer was deceived by the mysterious red swirl directly before his eyes. Anticipating movement one way, he received it the other. Despite the slowing of time it was far too late to save himself. The ball didn’t violently shatter his stumps but pierced his defences before elegantly clipping the timber summit. Both bails, a batsman’s gold, tumbled pitifully to the sun-baked ground. The Australian and his pals provided no pity and the Englishman’s sojourn was over. With head bowed he turned reluctantly, failing to block out the shrieks of joy. To polite applause the fallen batter trudged along the rain-starved grass toward the forgiveness of the changing room. He’d do it all again tomorrow.