- noun a relatively deep off-side fielding position (or the player occupying it) behind the batsman’s wicket and covering the slips and gully:
See fielding positions. The term third man originally denoted a position much closer to the wicket. It first appears in the mid-19th century to describe a position that was beginning to be used more often (with the spread of overarm bowling and the development of the ‘off-theory’ attack) to supplement the more established close off-side fielding positions of point and short-slip. The new fieldsman was thus the third man up.
Citation ‘The advantage of a third man up is proved to be most efficacious in the over-hand fast-Bowling; seeing that when a man lounges out to play at a ball which he judges to be over-tossed he does not sufficiently provide for the twist and … becomes easy prey to this newly-formed adversary’