The principle “Always do what your opponents would least like you to do” is pretty reliable in cricket. Andrew Strauss applied that principle diligently at the Gabba. The Australians would rather have endured another mildly humiliating but stress-free 25 overs in the field than having to bat again.
Strauss’s declaration was not much more than a token. There was, I suppose, at best, a one in two hundred chance that England could win the Test. But it did enliven the day a bit. Cricket becomes a drudgery when the pursuit of records becomes the focal point.