From our political correspondent Neil Bymouth
Last night's television debate saw the first time the leaders of the three main political parties met and argued their respective policies in front of a live audience at Trent Bridge. Despite a movement for their inclusion, Angus Fraser and Robert Croft of the SNP and Plaid Cymru respectively were not invited to participate.
Much of the debate was taken up with the issue of Twenty20. All leaders recognised the potential of the market, although Strauss put forward the Conservative policy of reduced Twenty20 over the next 4 years, before a total end to the format by 2015. Alastair Cook pushed for further international Twenty20s, but thought that the domestic competition was too long. Labour leader, and England Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood agreed with Cook that there should be more international Twenty20s, as well as a longer IPL and a longer domestic Twenty20 Cup.
However, when Strauss suggested that he was in favour of the format "as long as there is no over restriction, and the players must play in white" led to fervent political pointscoring, and it wasn't long before Cook and Collingwood's misdemeanours were were ridiculed by Strauss. However, Strauss' apparent smug attitude lead to him losing the public perception polls, with Cook taking an astonishing majority as the cricketing public felt that they could not connect with the gritty, determined Collingwood.
The three candidates now have a further week of electioneering ahead as they campaign for the public's votes. While Cook held a lead during the debate, all three candidates appear to be very evenly matched, with only a few votes either way likely to decide the result.
The Short Third Man's cricket election will be held on Thursday May 6th. For more information, click here