Farbrace defends decision to bat again despite huge lead


Assistant coach Paul Farbrace has defended England's decision not to put Pakistan straight back into bat after skittling them for 198 to leave Alastair Cook's men in firm control of the second Test with a first-innings lead of 391. 

England opted against enforcing the follow-on at Old Trafford and finished a rain-hit day three at Old Trafford on 98-1 in their second innings, an advantage of 489. 

Opinions were divided over whether the home side made the right call, despite the fact England are in a fantastic positon to level the four-match series. 

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was one of the most vocal critics, as he said on BBC Test Match Special: "They were 391 runs ahead - 391 runs! Win the game today - why delay it?" 

But Farbrace told Sky Sports: "We were thinking we might as well get our runs now, rather than put ourselves under pressure if we had to bat again having bowled them out a second time.

"It's a very simple plan and, of course, you understand, there are lots of opinions and you could have easily gone either way. But hopefully in the next two days we'll be proven right. 

"We're in a great position and very much in the driving seat of this game. We've played excellent cricket for three days and certainly having bounced back from Lord's, we're pleased with the way we've gone. 

"We just think that by keeping Pakistan under pressure and batting again, putting on a very big lead on the board, we really are in the best position. So there's no point putting ourselves under pressure at any stage in the game that we're dominating.

"I can easily understand people wanting us to go the other way. There was discussion. You're going to live and die by the decisions you make. 

"We think we've made the right decision and hopefully that will be proved the right thing to have done."

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur was surprised by England's decision and believes that the tourists - who lead the four-match series 1-0 - can benefit from the call not to enforce the follow on.

"Probably [we have a better chance of a draw now] yes - it gives us a better chance," he said. 

"That's certainly not an inflammatory headline at all because irrespective of when Alastair declares we are going to have to bat damn well.

"It's an interesting one. Alastair Cook has his reasons. We're a long way behind in the game and are happy that he didn't [enforce the follow-on]. 

"But England are so far ahead he could take time to rest his quick bowlers - that was the decision he took. All I can say is that we fully expected to be batting again."