Nasser Sticks with Wicketless Salisbury; England and Pakistan Warm Up for Second Test Showdown

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ENGLAND are ready to keep faith with leg-spinner Ian Salisbury for the second Test tomorrow against Pakistan despite his struggle to take wickets so far on tour.

The Surrey bowler failed to claim a victim in the first Test and did not impress in the subsequent match against a Board XI, leaving him wicketless in his last 47 overs. There are concerns over his form and confidence but the wicket at the Iqbal Stadium may well turn more sharply than that of Lahore, adding weight to the theory of retaining Salisbury to partner left-armer Ashley Giles.

Nasser Hussain had to assert his inspection rights as captain when faced with a local jobsworth yesterday as he looked at the two prepared tracks, the grassier one of which is almost certainly a Pakistani version of the red herring.

The dark brown one would have suggested to him that an unchanged side from the first match is called for, although that cannot be guaranteed.

Salisbury faces a dual challenge for his place, one from Matthew Hoggard and the other from a seventh specialist batsman, who, with Michael Vaughan still struggling with a calf injury, would probably be Andrew Flintoff.

Hoggard has bowled far better than Salisbury but in totally different conditions from those likely to prevail for the Test, while the addition of Flintoff would bolster the batting. …