I have heard many times cricket commentators referring to players driving the ball 'on the up'. By the context, this is taken to be a difficult and risky thing to do and makes a good shot even better as the batsmen is displaying some boldness by playing the shot to that delivery. As in "that was a fine cover drive, and he was playing the ball on the up".
Why is this confusing to me? Anytime that you play a drive, the ball is 'coming up'. The only exception would be a full toss, but that is an unusual delivery so it would be hardly remarkable to play any shot to a non full toss.
There are many examples of nonsensical phrases in sports commentary and the viewer just needs to learn what a particular nonsensical phrase means. In this case I've never understood what is being meant by this. My best guess is that the ball is fuller or shorter than a delivery that you would normally expect to see a drive played against (one or the other, it couldn't mean both). Any ideas?