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The Bulletin by Andrew McGlashan
August 18, 2008
The start was delayed by nearly two hours and another stoppage midway through Scotland's innings cut their allocation to 44. Hamilton's innings held them together, along with a fourth-wicket stand of 64 with Colin Smith, after Tim Bresnan impressed on his international recall, while Samit Patel made his mark on debut with a run out, catch and a wicket. England's target was adjusted to 159 and Ian Bell and Matt Prior, the latest opening pair, knocked off 10 before the rain came back and made this the sixth ODI out of the last 10 held in Scotland to be a no result.
However, Scotland can hold their heads up, especially as they had to bat in tough conditions against a swinging ball. With the ball darting around the last thing a batting side needs is to gift wickets to the opposition, but Ryan Watson was run out at the non-striker's end by Patel from midwicket.
Scotland's two current county batsmen then departed for ducks as Bresnan, recalled for the first time since 2006, bowled an impressive opening spell. He had Kyle Coetzer comfortably taken by Andrew Flintoff at second slip then Navdeep Poonia got a slightly thicker edge, which flew to Patel at third as his lively day continued.
At 11 for 3, Scotland could easily have folded without a trace, but to their immense credit they fought hard to repair the innings. Hamilton used all the experience he has gained from his lengthy professional career - which included a Test for England in 1999 - as he left anything wide of the stumps early on. But he and Smith weren't afraid to put bat to ball as both took sixes over an inviting third-man boundary, and Smith also had the gumption to come down the pitch and drive Bresnan straight down the ground.
England's bowlers maintained their disciplines, but the fielding didn't quite match those standards. Hamilton was missed twice on 24, firstly by James Anderson at the unaccustomed position of second slip then by Luke Wright on the boundary. At 75 for 3 Scotland had the base to push towards a competitive total, however two quick wickets stunted their progress.
The profitable third-man area brought Smith's downfall when he tried to clear the rope but found Alastair Cook, on as a substitute, right on the boundary edge. In the next over Patel, in the middle of a tight spell of left-arm spin, collected his first international wicket when Neil McCallum top-edged a sweep to deep square-leg
Rain then interrupted the innings, but on resumption Scotland continued to stand up to their more illustrious opponents. Kevin Pietersen made the curious decision to bowl himself for a couple of overs and Hamilton started to express himself with meaty sixes off Patel and Stuart Broad, as he and former captain Craig Wright added 42 in 10 overs.
Broad got one on target to remove Wright and Flintoff, who enjoyed some good-natured banter with a well-lubricated crowd, removed Hamilton as he tried to find the boundary in the closing overs. However, his innings meant Scotland kept their pride intact and they would have fancied giving England a few uncomfortable moments in the run chase. The weather put paid to that, but the day will still go down as a success for Scottish cricket.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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