England has been on the receiving end of this Ashes test match. While luck certainly played a part in their 1st test defeat, England has no one to blame other than themselves for finding themselves in an agonizing position in the ongoing Pink Ball test match.
After bowling out England for 236 in the first innings, eyes were on Steve Smith to enforce a follow-on. With the favorable night environment for the Pink Ball and a 237 lead, everyone was expecting that England batters will be called out but the Australian openers running off the field after the fall of England’s last wicket meant that the home side would be batting instead.
The decision raised some eyebrows in the commentary box where they were wanting Australia to put the foot down and go for the kill because of the Pink ball factor under the lights. Waugh said, “It could unfold very badly for them if they happen to be batting again tonight with the lights on and a new pink ball”
Australia was involved in a similar situation four years ago in the Pink Ball test match when their decision to bat instead of enforcing the follow-on almost cost them the match. Anderson and Woakes went through the batting lineup with their 5 -43 and 4 -36 respectively. However, the Aussies were able to defend the target and won by 120 runs owing to the huge 1st innings lead of 215 runs.
Now Nathan Lyon has revealed why the Aussies did not enforce a follow-on. Speaking to cricket.com.au, Lyon said, “Always thought about enforcing the follow on. But I think there is a process that goes into making those decisions.”
The presenter asked whether wanting to put the English bowlers back on the field and make them bowl as many overs as possible was the part of the plan, to which Lyon replied, “There is a bit of that I guess but Test cricket is a long game as well and there is the process that probably me and Starc had this thought process about why we didn’t (enforce follow on) and wanted to see if it works before tell the whole world what that process is, which I will be more than happy to talk to you after the test series if it works”
England bowlers haven’t had a breather in the 1st test match too when Australia made them bowl nearly 106 overs in the first innings for scoring 425. In the second test match, England has bowled almost 151 overs in the first innings and 61 overs in the second innings. Considering that England will likely be 2- 0 by tomorrow, it would be a herculean task for the bowlers to wipe the recent bad bowling and come back rejuvenated.