Cricket /First Test: Salisbury unruffled by facing two lefties

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AS Ray Illingworth is said to have wanted Ian Salisbury to play against New Zealand in the third Test at Old Trafford, it is probably safe to assume that his presence at Lord's came about as the result of selectorial wheeler-dealing involving both Salisbury and John Crawley.

But once Michael Atherton had Salisbury in his side he handled him extremely well. He brought him into the attack after only an hour, which will certainly have made his leg spinner feel wanted.

South Africa were one wicket down at the time and although Gary Kirsten is a left-hander, Salisbury had a right-hander to bowl at in Hansie Cronje. Angus Fraser then removed Cronje, who was replaced by Kepler Wessels, which meant that Salisbury was now bowling at two left-handers.

That was not at all what he would have wanted, but Atherton did not try to protect his leg spinner by taking him off. In this first spell he bowled five tidy overs for 13 runs and was not played with much conviction.

One felt, though, that Atherton might have given him a leg slip so that the left-handers could not go on glancing him round the corner with the spin with impunity. Without a leg slip Salisbury's problems against the left-handers were even greater.

The most fascinating piece of cricket involving him came just before tea when he mesmerised the right-handed Peter Kirsten, who did not know which way the ball was turning.

On another day, Salisbury might have had at least two or three wickets. It was excellent to see him back in the England side, not least because he has turned himself into a good enough fielder to justify his position at cover point, where he is a quick mover. He is also far from negligible as a lower-order batsman, and in all that he does he never gives less than 100 per cent.

The same has always been true of Graham Gooch, who seems to be immensely enjoying his position of elder statesman in the side. There will be no better moment all summer than when he caught Andrew Hudson at deep backward square leg.

This was a highly missable catch, for Gooch had to run quite a way to get to it and then was forced to catch the ball over his left shoulder. It was a fine effort and a delight to see his joy as he threw the ball aloft and ran grinning into the midst of his colleagues.