Monday, May 30, 2016

The Second Innings

They looked at the scorecard and it didn’t look very encouraging. With two wickets left, the they were not even close enough. The last two wickets tumbled and the men trudged towards the pavilion with their heads hanging low. The opposition came in to bat again and posted a close to impossible total on the scoreboard. It was almost over.

“It’s a one-sided affair, boring,” quipped one of the commentators, loud and clear. “They’re staring at a certain loss,” chipped in another. “This pitch tends to behave like a tough nut on the last day of the Test. The numbers are stacked up against them,” said the third commentator, quite convinced that the only possible result was a loss, not even a draw. “Don’t forget that the side they are facing, they’re champions,” reminded another.

Inside the dressing room, the air was pregnant with a grim acceptance. There was no way the match could be steered in their favour. They’d given up. Accusations were flying, tempers were flaring. The skipper stepped out, trying to clear his head and sort the mess. But, the boys’ morale had hibernated.

The day had come. The openers were dreading stepping out into the crease. The captain tried to pep them up, but no, nothing worked. And just like their fallen energies, the wickets kept falling. Some of the batsmen had begun to blossom, but the opposition had outsmarted them. It all came down to the last wicket. The captain was there in the middle, doing everything he could to crawl to a win.

“Howwwwwwwzat?” yelled the bowler, followed by the chorus of slip cordon. The umpire took a pause, perhaps, the longest wait for the captain and his boys. His heart was ramming against his chest, he so desperately wanted the umpire to say “Not Out”.

He closed his eyes, praying to the big gun up there, for the finger to rise. Not Out, it was, as the umpire’s verdict came. He’d gotten a second chance and he made the most of it. He smacked them all around the park, his partner assisting him sneaking in the quick singles. And then, the skipper took them home with a glorious sixer. A captain’s knock. They’d beaten all odds, all predictions, all the mess, all the hurdles and come out, victorious.

The second chance. The second innings. They made it count and how!