UAE v Scotland, Sharjah, 1st day January 11, 2007

Saqib makes Scotland toil

Cricinfo staff

UAE 271 for 3 (Saqib Ali 114*, Khurram Khan 70*, Gayan Silva 60) v Scotland

Scotland's bid to secure a place in the Intercontinental Cup final was dented by a determined performance by UAE's batsmen of the first day of their Group A match at Sharjah. At the close UAE, who won the toss, were 271 for 3.

Scotland came into the game knowing a good win would be enough to see them through to March's final, and their hopes were boosted by the fact that UAE were routed a month ago by Namibia.

It all started well, with John Blain removing both openers to catches by wicketkeeper Douglas Lockhart. At 22 for 2, UAE were wobbling, but their middle order, which had been so brittle at Windhoek in December, proved much harder to crack this time.

The experienced Gayan Silva and Saqib Ali, who made his first-class debut against Namibia, batted freely in adding 140 for the third wicket. Scotland, coming into the warmth of the desert from deep midwinter, struggled and Craig Wright was forced not only to rotate his bowlers with frequency, but also to use eight of them.

Ryan Watson broke through, courtesy of a third catch from Lockhart, to remove Silva for 60, but that did not bring any respite as Khurram Khan joined Saqib and feasted on the weary bowling. The pair added an unbeaten 109 for the fourth wicket, with Saqib completing his maiden hundred shortly before the close.