This paper considers the decision problem of when to declare during the third innings of a test cricket match. There are various factors that affect the decision of the declaring team including the target score, the number of overs remaining, the relative desire to win versus draw, and the scoring characteristics of the particular match. Decision rules are developed and these are assessed against historical matches. We observe that there are discrepancies between the optimal time to declare and what takes place in practice.
At the completion of the second innings of a scheduled 5-day match, if the team batting first leads by at least 200 runs, then it has the option of forcing the second innings batting team to bat again in the third innings. The sequence of batting innings according to Team A, Team B, Team B, and Team A (if required) is the result of team A enforcing the follow-on.
If a team has accumulated an adequate amount of runs during its first innings (Team A) or second innings (Team B), then the team may decide to declare at that time, but these less common scenarios are not the focus of this study.
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