Cricket Follow-On Calculator

Created by Rahul Dhari
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Oct 30, 2022

The cricket follow-on calculator will help you determine whether you can enforce the follow-on to invite the opponent to bat again. Following on in cricket is a circumstance that is as per Law 14 of the laws of cricket drafted by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), London. The MCC is custodian of cricket laws that are up for revision every year. Currently, there are 42 laws, and they define the conditions of play and different circumstances. It is applicable in cricket, where each team bats twice.

If you are interested in the shorter format of cricket, our Duckworth-Lewis calculator can keep you company during the rain-curtailed matches.

The follow-on law is often used when the play duration is less and to avoid a draw result. If your team is invited to follow-on, it is most likely your team will lose the game. Therefore, it is better to avoid the follow-on! So what are follow-on rules in cricket? Read on to understand.

Rules for follow-on in cricket

What is follow-on in cricket? — The term follow-on refers to the situation where the opposite side is asked to bat again immediately after their previous inning during a two innings match. This situation occurs to the team batting second, and in such situations, the team batting first makes this call. The circumstances under which the team batting first gets this right are dictated by the Law 14 of MCC laws of cricket which states:

14.1.1 In a two-innings match of 5 days or more, the side which bats first and leads by at least 200 runs shall have the option of requiring the other side to follow their innings.

The law above is applicable only for following on in test cricket, which is the pinnacle of international cricket. The targets get reduced for the first class and lower divisions of cricket. The subsequent clause, 14.1.2 states the minimum runs criterion for matches of shorter durations:

  • 150 runs in a match of 3 or 4 days;
  • 100 runs in a 2-day match; and
  • 75 runs in a 1-day match.

If the team batting second is trailing by at least the minimum runs stated, the opposition has the right to choose to enforce the follow-on. However, it is not compulsorily to enforce and is often a tactical decision based on factors like:

  • Time or days left in the match;
  • The workload of bowlers, i.e., if the bowlers need rest after a long inning; or
  • The pitch and weather conditions, i.e., following on is more likely if there is a rain forecast on subsequent days.

The minimum runs criterion is adjustable in case the start of the game is delayed by one or more days. In such cases, clause 14.3 states that the minimum runs criterion for enforcing follow-on is adjusted based on the number of days left in the match.

If you are interested in cricket, we also have batting strike rate calculator, run rate calculator, and batting average calculator.

How to calculate the follow on in test cricket

We know the rules for following on in test cricket, but how many runs are needed to enforce the follow-on? This calculator will help you estimate how many runs you should restrict your opponents to enforce the follow-on or how many runs your team needs to score to avoid it.

To calculate the follow-on position:

  1. Select whether the match begins on Day 1 or not; if there is no play on day one, select yes on the next day or so on.
  2. Pick the match type from the choices.
  3. Enter the runs scored by Team 1, i.e., the team batted first.
  4. Fill in the runs scored by Team 2, i.e., the team batted second.
  5. The cricket follow-on calculator will return the lead attained by Team 1 and whether they can enforce the follow-on.

Example: Using the cricket follow on calculator

Let's follow the example of an Ashes test, where Australia batted first and put 473/9 on the board. England, in pursuit of that massive score, manages only 237. So does the follow-on rule apply?

To calculate the follow-on situation:

  1. Select match conditions. Since the match began on day 1, pick Yes for Play on Day 1?
  2. Pick five days (tests) as match type.
  3. Enter Australia's score of 473 as Team 1 score.
  4. Fill in the Team 2's score as the English side's 237 runs.
  5. The cricket follow-on calculator says:
    • Team 1 (Australia) leads by 236 runs.
    • Team 2 (England) had to score 273 to avoid following on, i.e., they missed out by 36 runs and are now in danger of being asked to follow on.

But the Aussie skipper chooses not to enforce follow-on as their bowlers had already toiled for a day, and there were a couple of days still left in the game. Australia comes out to bat again and wraps up England to win the match on the 5th day. An enforced follow-on does not guarantee a win to the team batting first, as there have been three instances when the teams have lost the matches despite enforcing follow-on. There is still a chance for the team to force a draw.

FAQ

What is the rule of follow on in test cricket?

As per Law 14.1, the follow-on rule for test cricket states that a team batting second can be invited to bat again if they trail by more than 200 runs after the end of their first inning. The decision to enforce follow-on ultimately lies with the captain of the team batting first. The person may or may not enforce it based on the conditions of play.

How do I calculate the follow on in test cricket?

To calculate the follow-on target in test cricket:

  1. Obtain the score of the team batting first.
  2. Subtracting the team's score by 200 will give you the minimum runs needed to avoid the follow-on. Anything short of this target could result in follow-on enforcement from the opposite side.

Can a team win after following on in tests?

Yes, but in about 100+ years of test cricket, there have been only three instances when a team has gone on to win the match after being asked to follow on. It is very rare to pull massive comebacks and win the game, such as:

  • India v Australia, Kolkata, 2001; and
  • England v Australia, Headingley, 1981.

Teams following on still can force a draw by playing out the rest of the days left in the match.

How many runs do I need to avoid follow on in first class cricket?

The team batting second needs to trail by less than 150 runs after the first inning to avoid the follow-on in a three-day or four-first-class (FC) match. For matches of shorter duration like two days or one day, this criterion reduces to 100 and 75 runs, respectively.

Rahul Dhari
Match conditions
Play on Day 1?
Yes
Match type
Five day (Test)
Scorecard
Team batting first (Team1)
runs
Team batting second (Team 2)
runs
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