Team India won the historic MCG Test and gained a 2-1 lead. It was a wonderful performance by the visitors, especially by the pacers. But near the end of day 3, there was a debate when Virat Kohli chose not to enforce the follow-on.
India had amassed 443/7 batting first after winning the toss on the back of Cheteshwar Pujara’s century. Then, Jasprit Bumrah bagged 6 wickets to restrict Australia to 151. India had a massive lead of 292 runs. Most cricket pundits speculated the visitors would enforce the follow-on as the pitch was deteriorating.
Even a lead of 292 would have been enough to restrict the opposition under it. But contrary to the expectations, Virat Kohli opted not to enforce the follow-on. Instead, team India batted in the remaining few overs on day 3. They struggled against the fiery Pat Cummins and lost 5 wickets for 54 at the end of day 3.
Next day, they declared at 106/8 which gave Australia a target of 399. The hosts fought hard but the pitch was too tough to survive. In the end, India won the MCG Test by 131 runs. It was a commanding win but follow-on remained a topic for debate.
Here’s why there was no follow-on in the MCG Test
After the game, the Indian captain mentioned that it was very hot in Melbourne and wanted the pacers to take rest. Hence, he didn’t enforce the follow-on. Also, India wanted to set a target of nearly 400 that would give them a mental edge in the game.
“We didn’t think about any of that [make Australia bowlers tired]. First innings, our aim was to go past 400 and psychologically have that number on the board no matter how much ever time it took,” Kohli was quoted by India Today.
“We never thought we want to keep them in the field for longer. We didn’t enforce the follow-on because when our bowlers bowled in those two sessions, it was really warm out there. We just thought we would give them an overnight break, good sleep…come out fresh and let them have a go at the batsmen,” added Kohli.