Australia vs India: Virat Kohli reveals why India did not enforce follow-on in Melbourne

Australia vs India: Virat Kohli reveals why India did not enforce follow-on in Melbourne

India won the Test by 137 runs to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Follow-on, though, has been a part of Test cricket but ever since Steve Waugh’s decision to enforce one on India in that historic Test in Kolkata which eventually boomeranged on Australia, the concept became a bit less adhered to. After all, cricket is a game of great uncertainty. However, in Melbourne, India’s decision not to enforce follow-on after securing a lead of 292 was not because there was an apprehension that somebody equivalent to VVS Laxman would rise from the ruins for the Kangaroos and play the innings of his life.

Powered by Jasprit Bumrah’s 6 for 33, India floored the hosts on the third day of the third Test after scoring 443 for 7 on a fairly placid wicket. Australia were bowled out for a paltry 151 with the highest individual score of 22. It was a blow that the Aussies could never recover from, losing the Test eventually by 137 runs and conceding a 1-2 lead in the four-match series. India, who wrested back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from Australia by winning a series at home 2-1 last year, have retained it by taking the unassailable lead.

Idea was not to make Australian bowlers toil

Indian captain Virat Kohli revealed his decision of not enforcing the follow-on after getting the 200-plus lead and it was not to make the Australian bowlers toil and rather give the Indian bowlers enough rest before they came back hard at the hosts. India though had a poor outing in the second innings as they slumped to 44 for 5 before debutant Mayank Agarwal and wicket-keeper Rishabh helped the tourists cross 100 and they declared again at 106 for 8 which meant India already had a formidable lead of 398 runs.

The break of 37.3 overs was handy for the Indian bowlers to regroup and allowed Kohli to unleash them on the Australians. “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 as saying on Sunday.

“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.”

Former Australia captain Allan Border and veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh did not agree with the decision of not asking Australia to follow on but since India won it eventually early on Day 5 when they knocked off the remaining two Australian wickets, nobody was complaining.

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