Few decisions provoke more controversy and debate in Test cricket than the option to force the follow-on. I still don’t understand how the exact follow-on figure is reached (is it half or two-thirds of the opposition’s innings?), but a captain faces a number of competing factors: are his bowlers too tired? What’s the weather and conditions like? How will the decision affect the rest of the series?
There’s also the emotional effect at play: when the follow-on is available, one captain must wait for the other’s command; it’s a hugely humilitaing exercise that leaves no doubt as to who is calling the shots. Continue reading