The follow-on, and specifically whether or not it should be enforced in any given situation, is always a subject that provokes debate, and Andrew Strauss’ decision not to ask Australia to bat again at Lord’s is no different, with those who think he should have put them back in debating the issue with those who feel that batting again was the right decision.
It’s not necessarily an easy call to make. In the past, Strauss has been accused of conservative captaincy, and there is a danger that he will overestimate the possibility of the Aussies chasing down a monster total when he times his declaration. But five or six sessions should be plenty of time to bowl a side out, even Australia (although it will still require decent performances from the bowlers), and a faint heart never won a fair urn in any case.
Of course, soon those on both sides of the debate will have the benefit of hindsight -if England win, Strauss is a genius; if the Aussies escape, he’s too cautious and England don’t have the ‘killer instinct’ or ‘ruthlessness’ required.