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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Statistics augur victory for India

Only twice India drew the match after taking a first innings lead above 250, writes Rajneesh Gupta.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 16:06 IST
Rajneesh Gupta
Rajneesh Gupta

When Rahul Dravid asked West Indies to bat again after bundling out the hosts for a paltry 215 and gaining a first innings lead of 373, it provided only the 25th instance of an Indian captain enforcing the follow-on on the opposition.

Overall it was the 269th instance of a side enforcing the follow-on in Test cricket. England have imposed this ignominy on most number of occasions on the opponents as can be gauged from the following table:

Teams enforcing follow-on in Test cricket

Teams TestsWonLost Drawn
New Zealand13100003
South Africa19140005
Sri Lanka08070001
West Indies30230007

England have also been at the receiving end on most number of occasions – 51 times they have to suffer the fate of following-on. Australia and New Zealand share the second place with 39 such instances.

Teams forced to follow-on in Test cricket

Teams TestsWonLost Drawn
New Zealand39003009
South Africa37002809
Sri Lanka14001202
West Indies23001805

Australia are the only country to lose a Test after asking opposition to follow-on. They lost by 10 runs at Sydney in 1894-95 and at Leeds by 18 runs in 1981 – both times to England and then to India at Kolkata in 2000-01 by 171 runs.

The accompanying table gives the country-wise break-up of previous 24 instances of follow-on enforced by Indian captains:

OpponentTestsWon Lost DrawnWon % 
Sri Lanka040400 00 100.00
Bangladesh0101 00 00 100.00 
Pakistan0302 00 01 66.66 
New Zealand0302 00 01 66.66 
England0503 00 02 60.00
Zimbabwe0201 00 01 50.00
West Indies 0301 00 02 33.33
Australia03 01 00 02 33.33 
Total2415 00 09 62.50






There is a great disparity between India’s performance at home and abroad when it comes to enforcing the follow-on as is evident from the following table.

TestsWon LostDrawnWon %
In India1812 000666.66 
In the sub-continent02020000100.00
In overseas Tests04 0100 0325.00



Out of the previous four instances of follow-on away from the sub-continent, two came in England (at The Oval in 1990 and Leeds in 2002), one in West Indies (at Kingston in 1970-71) and one in Australia (at Sydney in 1985-86). India’s only win in an overseas Test came at Leeds in 2002 when they defeated England by an innings and 46 runs. The two wins in the sub-continent came against Pakistan (at Multan in 2003-04) and against Bangladesh (at Chittagong in 2004-05).

The following table gives details of follow-on margin for India. It is quite clear that higher the margin, higher are India’s chances of winning.

Follow-on MarginTests Won Lost Drawn Won % 
300 & above0504 00 01 80.00
251-2990504 00 01 80.00
201-25010060004 60.00
150-200*0401 00 03 25.00 
Total24150009 62.50




(* where matches were of four days duration)

The only two draws managed by the opposition despite India getting a first innings lead of 250 or more came at Delhi in 1978-79 when India did not have sufficient time at their disposal to dismiss the West Indies second time in the match (more than seven hours was lost due to rain) and at the Oval when England fought hard to score 477-4 in a high scoring match. On all other eight occasions India did not even need to bat again in the match and won quite comfortably by innings margin.

With Chris Gayle- top-scorer in three innings for West Indies in this series – already back in the pavilion and two days to go in the Test on a pitch of variable bounce, it will need a miraculous innings from Lara or some divine help for West Indies to earn a draw from here onwards.

First Published: Jun 13, 2006 18:36 IST

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