Eng v NZ, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day May 26, 2013

To follow-on or not?

ESPNcricinfo present the plays of the day from the third day at Headingley

Decision of the day

England's decision not to enforce the follow-on brought much debate. They had a 180-run lead when they dismissed New Zealand for 174 (the follow-on figure was 150 because the first day was washed out), and until some last-wicket slogging brought 52 from five overs, they had taken nine wickets for 70 runs in 26 overs. Even after Neil Wagner and Trent Boult's merry-making, they had still only been in the field for 43.4 overs.

So why did they not follow-on especially with the risk of rain on the final day? The temptation is to suggest that England's management had an eye on the Ashes. Absolutely no risk of overbowling their pace attack or, for that matter, Graeme Swann, who is not long back from an elbow operation, will be ta. There is also the fact that the follow-on is much more likely to go wrong for a four-bowler attack. But there was another reason - and it was that the pitch was still pretty flat as Alastair Cook emphasised with a blissful innings after tea.

Ball of the day

Swann's three-wicket burst attracted most of the attention, but a delivery from Steven Finn also sticks in the memory. It was the first ball received by Tim Southee, cutting back steeply off a good length, and almost slicing him in two as he managed an inside edge. Finn, back on his full run, was approaching his best again - more good news for England.

Anxiety of the day

Nick Compton's Ashes place is held to be under pressure, for all the protestations within the England camp that he has had a solid start to his Test career, and his anxiety was evident. He got off the mark to the first ball he faced, from Southee, with a dreadful shot - a foot-fast cut which sent the ball whistling behind square on the legside off an inside edge. He became ever more pensive and, even if you could advance a case that he had seen off the new ball, that he had played a team game by contentedly acting as second fiddle to Cook, and that Jonathan Trott was just as pawky, it was an unattractive, not to say limited, innings. The fact Compton had to await a New Zealand review for a clear bat-pad to forward short leg just added to his agony.

Injury of the day

The last thing New Zealand needed as they tried to recover self-respect was an injury to one of their pace bowlers. They suffered one all the same as Boult, who had taken the last two wickets to finish with 5 for 57, pulled out of the attack after aggravating a strained side after only two overs. Boult's figures were his second best in Tests, outdone only by his six wickets against England in Auckland in March.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo