Shahzad left to sweat over Test debut

CAPTAIN Andrew Strauss says England will make an 11th hour decision on team selection ahead of the second Test with Bangladesh, which starts this morning.

Strauss and the selectors are torn between handing Ajmal Shahzad a Test debut for the Old Trafford clash, or recalling Ryan Sidebottom in place of the injured Tim Bresnan.

“They both bring different attributes that we are weighing up at the moment,” Strauss admitted. “Ryan Sidebottom is obviously an experienced campaigner, we know pretty much what we are going to get from him. That experience might be valuable on this wicket.

“On the other hand, Ajmal is new and exciting and has been in the squad a while and this might be an opportunity to have a look at him.

“These are the two arguments we are weighing up at the moment, it’s not a bad situation to be in, we are pretty confident that both can do a good job here at Old Trafford.”

Yorkshire pace man Shahzad was 12th man for the eight-wicket first Test victory at Lord’s last week, while Nottinghamshire’s Sidebottom was called into the squad as a replacement for Bresnan after helping England triumph at the recent World Twenty20.

But Strauss insists being in the squad from the start does not give 24-year-old Shahzad the advantage over his more experienced team-mate.

“You pick the right side to win you a Test match,” he added. “We’ll be looking at that tonight and like I said both have very obvious skills and strengths they can bring to the side and we have just got to weigh up more which one will help us win this Test match.”

Opener Strauss returned with knocks of 83 and 82 at Lord’s having sat out the Bangladesh tour earlier this year, and admitted he was satisfied with his own performance.

“It was good to get a couple of 80s, disappointed not to get a hundred,” he added. “You want to settle back quickly and as captain you want to lead by example.”