Scotland in control in UAE
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
SCOTLAND enjoyed the better of the opening day of their Intercontinental Cup encounter with UAE yesterday when a clinical bowling and fielding performance allowed them to claim the first innings bonus points.
On a day dominated by the bowlers, Gordon Drummond's men dismissed their rivals for just 100 at the Sharjah Stadium.
They then batted themselves into a position of strength – if not total dominance – by reaching 121-5 at the close.
Pete Steindl, a satisfied Saltires coach, declared: "It's been a pleasing day and it's nice to be in front.
"Taking all ten wickets in a session-and-a-half is testament to how well the guys bowled and fielded.
"We exerted good pressure and got the rewards."
The Scots could not have asked for a better start when, having lost the toss, they made early inroads into the UAE batting line-up.
Safyaan Sharif was the destroyer-in-chief with three wickets as the hosts were quickly reduced to 27-4.
The recent Clydesdale recruit accounted for opener Arshad Ali as well as the dangerous Saqib Ali en route to figures of 3-27 while Gordon Goudie produced a wicket-taking delivery to remove Faizan Asif.
Preston Mommsen, meanwhile, helped himself to three sharp catches, one a spectacular diving effort in the slips, as the rout unfolded.
Khurram Khan, the UAE's most experienced batsman, offered some resistance with four boundaries in his 22 before the golden arm of Richie Berrington accounted for the left-hander.
Having reduced their hosts to 78-5, the Scots proceeded to turn the screw with ruthless efficiency on the resumption, the combination of Majid Haq and skipper Drummond applying sustained pressure.
There was also a superb piece of fielding from Calum MacLeod to run out UAE's top scorer Amjad Ahmed for 24 as Drummond's men dominated.
Haq went on to claim 2-14 from eight miserly overs and, while Drummond was unrewarded, Goudie returned to the attack to complete his own three-wicket haul.
Scotland's progress towards the first innings bonus points was not the jaunt they may have hoped for as a succession of batsmen, having played themselves in, proceeded to lose their wickets.
Ryan Flannigan was first to go for 9 while his former Watsonians' team-mate Ewan Chalmers, promoted to open, departed for 15 as the Scots were reduced to 30-2.
Mommsen (24) and Haq (28), though, produced the biggest partnership of the day, adding 52 for the third wicket before both fell with the total on 82.
They had looked set to carry the Scots into the lead but that pleasant task was left to Berrington and debutant Freddie Coleman in a stand of 39.
Sadly Coleman was adjudged lbw, offering no shot to Amjad Javed, in the final over of the day.
The Warwickshire batsman was yet another who had done the hard work only to depart in frustration.
However, the Scots will resume with Berrington unbeaten on 19 and a lower order which has the ability to build a substantial lead.
Steindl knows, though, that the remaining batsmen will require to display resolve as well as skill.
He added: "It might have been a pleasing day but it would have been even better if we had lost a couple of wickets fewer.
"There is no doubt it is hard work for batsmen and a few balls are keeping low but the key for the remainder of our innings will be application.
"We want to build as big a lead as possible."