Virat Kohli was never a fan of of enforcing a follow-on. But when the bowlers dismantled New Zealand for just 62, with the visitors 263 behind, most, if not all, expected the Indian skipper to enforce a follow-on. But he didn’t and fans on social media questioned his strategy, but former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman on Sunday explained that with the South Africa Test series around, he too would have wanted his batters to get some runs under their belt ahead of the crucial overseas contest.
Talking to Star Sports ahead of start of Day 4 in Mumbai, Laxman explained that the move will give Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara an opportunity to score their much-eluded three-figure mark. He also added that he expects India to bat all through the day 3.
“The reason Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid didn’t enforce a follow-on because they wanted their batsmen to spend more time on the wicket and get runs under their belt because the South Africa series is not too far away. You want Pujara and Kohli to get their magic three-figure mark which has eluded them for a long time. So I think they will bat the whole day. That will be their target. I think they will reassess at tea time, but I would have been Kohli or Dravid, I would have wanted them to bat all day. It’s the third day of the Test match not the fourth day,” he said.
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India opened with Pujara alongside Mayank Agarwal in the second innings after Shubman Gill had incurred an injury on his arm while fielding on day 2.
Pujara finished day 2 with 29 off 51 as India took their lead well past 300 in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, contrary to Laxman’s opinion, former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori felt that it was a move to manage bowlers’ workload.
“Most captains around the world sort of tend to urge towards not enforcing the follow-on. Mainly to rest bowlers because of managing their workload. However, India bowled only 28-29 overs and yes Kohli could’ve chosen to opt for follow-on and make huge inroads into New Zealand. But he didn’t. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’ll make it incredibly difficult for New Zealand to make a comeback. It’s almost impossible,” he told ESPNCricinfo.