Salisbury faces fight for future

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India A 216 and 204-2 England A 316

Ian Salisbury will be fighting for his immediate international future when England A resume their see-saw, second-Test battle with India A in Calcutta today. The leg-spinner Salisbury was given just four overs by his captain Alan Wells as India A, facinga deficit of 100, hit back by reaching 204 for 2 in their second innings by the close of the third day.

One waist-high full toss was thumped for six by the opener Vikram Athore, who led the Indian fightback with an elegant unbeaten 113, and Salisbury's brief appearance in the attack cost 16 runs. His fellow spinners Richard Stemp and Min Patel were given 26 and 22 overs apiece - a stark contrast to Salisbury, who, with seven Test caps, should be the senior slow bowler.

Salisbury will hope for more of a chance today but Wells' lack of confidence in his Sussex colleague so far in the innings is an alarming development for a bowler who came to India with high hopes of rejuvenating his England career. So far in the series with India A, Salisbury has bowled only 28 overs and taken just one wicket for 105 runs.

It is Salisbury's lack of control as much as a dip in form that is currently letting him down - and even with England's first-innings advantage, he found it difficult to settle into a rhythm against batsmen eager to dominate.

In fact, England A's best prospects of putting themselves into a winning position today seem to be through the pacemen Glen Chapple and Dominic Cork. The second new ball is available after only five overs this morning, and late yesterday, both Chapple and Cork - who took three wickets each in India A's first innnings of 216 - achieved a touch of reverse swing with a ball now 70 overs old.

(India A won toss; third day)

INDIA A - First Innings 216 (U Chatterjee 72no).

ENGLAND A - First Innings (Overnight: 275 for 6)

P A Nixon c Yadav b Chauhan 22

M M Patel lbw b Chatterjee 9

G Chapple not out 9

I D K Salisbury c Mhambrey b Chatterjee 0

R D Stemp c Bahutule b Chauhan 5

Extras (b5 lb17 nb3) 25

Total (110.4 overs) 316

Fall (cont): 7-301 8-303 9-303.

Bowling: Mhambrey 24-4-63-4; Ganguly 5-1-21-0; Chauhan 36.4-6-95-3; Chatterjee 31-8-76-3; Bahutule 13-2-36-0; Dravid 1-0-3-0.

INDIA A - Second Innings V S Rathore not out 113

J Singh c Cork b Stemp 13

A A Muzumdar c Knight b Patel 23

R Dravid not out 48

Extras (b5 nb2) 7

Total (for 2, 70 overs) 204

Fall: 1-53 2-103.

To bat: *P K Amre, S C Ganguly, V S Yadav, S V Bahutule, U Chatterjee, P L K Mhambrey, R K Chauhan.

Bowling (to date): Cork 9-0-34-0; Chapple 9-3-24-0; Stemp 26-6-72-1; Salisbury 4-0-16-0; Patel 22-5-53-1.

Umpires: A V Jayaprakash and S K Bansal.