Alastair Cook follow-on decision: Sky Cricket pundits have their say
Last Updated: 25/07/16 11:36am
England captain Alastair Cook opted not to enforce the follow-on despite securing a first-innings lead of 391 runs after bowling Pakistan out for 198 on day three of the second Test, at Old Trafford.
England assistant coach, Paul Farbrace - speaking about the decision to Sky Sports at the close - said: "It was pretty simple from our point of view.
"We thought we might as well get our runs while the pitch is good rather than put ourselves under pressure if we have to bat again after bowling them out - we are happy with the decision and hopefully we prove it right."
But would our pundits have done the same?
MIKE ATHERTON - No
"Had I been captain, I would have enforced the follow-on and I don't think there many captains of yesteryear would not have enforced the follow-on - the bowlers were reasonably fresh, there was heavy cloud cover, Pakistan's top order is vulnerable, and you can't be sure of two days' good weather in Manchester.
"But the follow-on has gone out of fashion a little bit in the modern game, mainly down to scheduling rather than because of that famous game in Kolkata where India beat Australia. More often than not you get series with back-to-back Tests so the workload on fast bowlers is greater than it ever was in terms of high-intensity cricket coming day after day.
"So even with big leads, captains now bat again to give their bowlers a rest knowing there is another Test match to come. Barring floods, England will win this game, so all this has done is give Pakistan a little get-out clause."
NASSER HUSSAIN - No
"One thing's that been missed during the debate about the follow-on is the fact that England bowled Pakistan out for 198 on what is a very good pitch that they scored 580 on. It's still rock hard - there are a few cracks there and there is a little bit of rough but it is a really good surface.
"Either way, England will win this game - they have better bowlers in these conditions and Pakistan's batting line-up is frail - but I would have enforced the follow on. I can't see a downside to enforcing it. The pitch isn't going to become a minefield, like it can in places like Kolkata. With the rain, England's bowlers are getting a rest anyway, so with hindsight perhaps Cook might have put Pakistan in.
SHANE WARNE - No
"When you've got a lead of nearly 400, there is a little bit of rain about and you could get four or five wickets in the evening, why not stick the opposition in? Conditions were perfect - not like sometimes in Australia when it's 45 degrees.
"There is also a week between Test matches and the bowlers hadn't really bowled, so I was surprised Cook didn't enforce the follow-on. I couldn't come up with reason why he didn't. All Pakistan are playing for is the draw, so the less amount of time they have to bat the better it is for them."
DAVID LLOYD - No
"It's a mystery to me. There will be mitigating factors that England can offer: 'we are going to run all over this pitch and make it a right mess to help Moeen Ali, we don't want to bowl with a wet ball and we've got two bowlers coming back into Test cricket'.
"They may say Anderson and Stokes may not have the stamina that's required, Cook knowing he has another two days left in the game."
MICHAEL HOLDING - No
"When you are making a decision, you put a piece of paper on the desk and write reasons for or against. I am absolutely sure you would find more reasons to enforce than not to enforce. End of story."
Watch live coverage of day four of the second Test between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports 2 from 10.30am.