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Follow-on: to enforce or not

Rajneesh Gupta | October 08, 2004 19:22 IST

Adam Gilchrist's decision against enforcing the follow-on in the first Test in Bangalore may have been inspired by the battering the Australians received in Kolkata in the 2000-01 series after imposing the follow-on. The decision may seem defensive to some and strange to others, but statistics reveal that it has brought laurels to the captains concerned on most occasions.

In fact, captains have been more successful while not enforcing the follow-on, though only marginally.

  TestsWonLostDrawnWinning %
Follow-on enforced26019835973.88
Follow-on not enforced*32241775.00
* entitled to do so.

The win and loss in the above table is with the perspective of the side imposing / not imposing the follow-on.

Ganguly can take solace from the fact that seven games were drawn (and one lost too) when the follow-on was not enforced. But there is a flip side too!

A detailed look at all 32 previous such instances discloses that Australia have won all five Tests where their captains did not impose the follow-on.

India, on the other hand, went on to lose on all five occasions when opposition captains decided to give their bowlers a rest rather than the opportunity to have another go at the Indians.

The only team to have lost a Test after not enforcing the follow-on is South Africa. Captain Dudley Nourse's decision backfired in the Test against Australia at Durban in 1949-50.

Instances when Test captains did not enforce the follow-on on India:
LeadOpponent - TotalsIndia's TotalsVenueSeasonWinnerOpp.Captain
278WI - 500 & 168-5d222 & 151Madras 1958-59West IndiesGerry Alexander
282Eng - 490 & 265-8d208 & 376Manchester1959EnglandPeter May
206Eng - 298 & 203 92 & 277Birmingham1967EnglandBrian Close
236Aus - 505 & 256269 & 445Adelaide1977-78AustraliaBobby Simpson
266Eng - 487 & 301-6d221 & 397Lord's2002EnglandNasser Hussain
228Aus - 474 & ?246 & ?Bangalore2004-05to be seenAdam Gilchrist

Instances when Australian captains did not enforce the follow-on:
380Aus- 701 & 327Eng- 321 & 145The Oval1934AustraliaBill Woodfull
340Aus- 619 & 394-8dWI - 279 & 352Sydney1968-69AustraliaBill Lawry
236Aus- 505 & 256Ind- 269 & 445Adelaide1977-78AustraliaBobby Simpson
259Aus- 426 & 248-8dEng- 167 & 323Brisbane1994-95AustraliaMark Taylor
202Aus- 479 & 217-6dWI - 277 & 296Brisbane1996-97AustraliaMark Taylor
228Aus- 474 & ?Ind - 246 & ?Bangalore2004-05to be seenAdam Gilchrist

Instances when follow-on was not enforced on Indian soil:
278WI- 500 & 168-5dInd - 222 & 151Madras 1958-59West IndiesGerry Alexander
275Ind- 583-7d & 148-5dNZ - 308 & 252-2Ahmedabad1999-00DrawnSachin Tendulkar
228Aus- 474 & ?Ind - 246 & ?Bangalore2004-05to be seenAdam Gilchrist

Country-wise break-up of instances when follow-on was not enforced:
West Indies76-1
South Africa5212
New Zealand11--
Sri Lanka22--


Australia's tour of India: The Complete Coverage

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