With West Indies 118-2 at lunch on day four of the second Test at Old Trafford – trailing by 351 runs – and England requiring a win to keep their hopes alive of winning the Wisden Trophy, the hosts asking the visitors to follow on could be a very real possibility.
We look back at the last five occasions England have enforced the follow-on:
South Africa v England – Port Elizabeth – Jan 2020
A Test match which involved two maiden milestones from two of England’s young guns, allowing Joe Root to enforce the follow-on. Following Ollie Pope’s 135* – his maiden Test ton – and Dom Bess‘ 5-51 – his maiden Test five-for – South Africa trailed England by 290 runs after both sides had batted. A rapid Mark Wood took 3-32 in South Africa’s second innings, while Root came to the party with his part-time offies to return a haul of 4-87. A 99-run stand between Keshav Maharaj and Dane Paterson for the last wicket couldn’t prevent the inevitable and South Africa were dismissed still 53 runs short of England’s first innings total.
England v West Indies – Edgbaston – Aug 2017
A gargantuan 243 from Alastair Cook and more-than-handy 143 from Joe Root saw England reach 514 before the classy Yorkshire stroke-maker decided it was time his bowlers joined the party. Messrs Anderson, Broad, Roland-Jones and Ali all chipped in with West Indian wickets, dismissing Jason Holder’s side for 168, trailing by 346. Having just bowled for 47 overs, England had it in their legs to re-take the field, and did so with aplomb, dismissing the West Indies second time round for 137 inside 46 overs. England won by an innings and 209 runs.
England v Sri Lanka – Chester-le-Street – May 2016
Not an innings victory, but nonetheless comprehensive. A magnificent 155 not out from Moeen Ali, and 80s from Alex Hales and Joe Root, helped England reach an imperious 498-9 before the declaration came. Sri Lanka’s first innings lasted just 101 runs, but they impressed after being asked to follow on. A ton from Dinesh Chandimal and runs from Angelo Matthews (80), Kaushal Silva (60) and Rangana Herath (61) saw Sri Lankan’s pass England’s first-innings total, but only by 78 runs. Alastair Cook – who passed 10,000 Test runs in the chase – and Nick Compton were both at the crease to finish the job inside 24 overs.
England v Sri Lanka – Headingley – May 2016
England enforced the follow-on in successive Tests during the 2016 Sri Lanka series. Batting at seven, Jonny Bairstow scored 140 on his home ground, however, Joe Root’s side only managed 298 in their first innings. Nevertheless, nine wickets between the Anderson-Broad axis saw Angelo Mathews’ side routed for 91. With their tails up, England had another go at Sri Lanka’s line-up and their confidence was rewarded; Anderson took another five-for to finish with astonishing match figures of 10-45 as Sri Lanka fell for 119, 88 runs behind England’s first-innings effort.
New Zealand v England – Basin Reserve – Dec 2013
The only draw on the list. England, led by Alastair Cook, were dismissed for an impressive 465 after hundreds from Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott. In response New Zealand made 254–- Stuart Broad taking 6-51 – and were asked to bat again. Unfortunately for Cook’s men, the weather hampered day four and washed out day five, as the game finished with New Zealand 162-2.