England assistant coach Paul Farbrace has defended skipper Alastair Cook’s decision to bat again and not enforce the follow-on as his side turned the screw on Pakistan during day three of the second Investec Test at Old Trafford.
Resuming on 57-4, the tourists offered precious little resistance and were dismissed for just 198, a first innings deficit of 391 runs. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was the only Pakistan batsman to pass 50.
Cook opted against the follow-on and led the charge with an unbeaten 49 as England finished the day on 98-1, a lead of 489. Pakistan will now have to bat out time or re-write history if they are to prevent England levelling the four-match series at 1-1. No side has scored more in the fourth innings to win a game than the 418-7 chalked up by the West Indies against Australia at St John’s in 2003.
“It was a pretty simple decision to bat,” said Farbrace. “We thought we’d bat while the wicket was still good, rather than put ourselves under pressure when it gets worse.
“It could have gone either way, but I think it’s the right decision and hopefully we’ll be proven right.
“We’re in the driving seat of this game and we think by keeping them under pressure we will dominate. There’s no point risking putting ourselves under pressure later on.
“With the wickets in hand we’ve got, we can push on. There’s still 200 overs to be bowled in the match so there’s plenty of time.”
All-rounder Chris Woakes claimed the wicket of Yasir Shah to finish with 4-67, while there were two apiece for Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali. Opener Alex Hales was the sole wicket to fall, dismissed for 24, during England’s second innings.