The third day at the MCA Stadium in Pune saw Team India tighten its screws on the visitors. It was another one of those days where lower-order batsmen schooled their more-celebrated compatriots on how one should tackle the conditions.
But, despite a valiant rearguard action from Vernon Philander and off-spinner Keshav Maharaj, who scored his maiden half-century; one that kept India in the field for more than 43 overs, the No.1 ranked Test team in the world bowled South Africa out for 275; 326 runs in arrears after the first innings.
Ajit Agarkar weighs in on the follow-on debate
So, will Virat Kohli enforce the follow-on? Everyone has been talking about this, considering the fact that India is so far ahead in the game. Former Indian cricketer Ajit Agarkar offered his views on the same on ESPN Cricinfo Match day. According to Agarkar, Virat Kohli should enforce the follow-on, considering the fact that they are playing five bowlers and they have had an overnight rest.
“I don’t know….I thought they had done away with follow-ons in Test cricket these days….But, I think there is a chance they would now. If they had to bowl tonight, you don’t quite know because a lot of captains are averse to this idea of not giving their bowlers enough rest…just over 100 overs bowled by India. In the older times, that was not the case, if you had a chance, the teams would take it.” Agarkar said on ESPNCricinfo Match Day.
In the past teams have been reluctant in giving follow-ons. One of the prime reasons for it has been England (in 1981) and India’s miraculous comebacks (2001) twenty years apart after having suffered the ignominy of a follow-on. However, Agarkar feels it will not be the case with the Proteas considering the track as well as the manner in which their top-order has batted thus far in the series, asserting the fact that he’d be really surprised if Kohli does not enforce the follow-on.
“In the past, there have been a couple of examples where teams have come from behind but I don’t think that will be the case with South Africa, especially with that many runs behind, two days left and the way they have played. Yea! I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t, especially with the overnight rest that the bowlers have had, plus five bowlers in this line-up for India, especially the seamers who haven’t had enough bowling,” said Agarkar
Interestingly, Virat Kohli has won on all seven occasions when he has decided against enforcing the follow-on.