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The preview by Alex Winter
September 2, 2013
September 3, Edinburgh
Start time 1045 (0945 GMT)
Scotland haven't been able to develop a compelling case for more top level cricket, as Ireland have, and as such, their appearances against the big boys of world cricket don't carry the same "point-to-prove" status. So there should be no ramifications for labelling this fixture an Australian warm-up for the NatWest series against England.
Australia need to regain credibility in ODIs. They were roundly written off for the Champions Trophy, thumped by England in their opening match and never realistically threatened the semi-finals. A 3-0 Ashes defeat will have done nothing for their confidence but Ashes losers have recently found solace in the one-dayers that follow. A confidence-boosting defeat of the Scots will gee Australia up nicely.
So will a longer memory. In February Australia shrugged off a West Indies side high on their World T20 success which, before last week's win in the Twenty20 at the Ageas Bowl, was their previous taste of any victory. They can certainly play in their home conditions; a factor which will shorten their odds for the 2015 World Cup. And unless something quite remarkable happens, they should cast Scotland aside.
That said, Pakistan were given a scare north of the border back in May and when Scotland can select their first XI, they are a useful side - currently lying joint third in the World Cricket League Championship with two games in hand on second-placed Netherlands. Their posse of county cricketers return for this match although captain Kyle Coetzer is ruled out with a wrist injury.
Coezter could also miss the three World Cricket League Championship matches against Ireland which follow this fixture; crucial matches in Scotland's quest to qualify for the 2015 World Cup. So you could say, Scotland are treating the Australians as practise opponents too.
Form guide(completed matches, most recent first)
Players to watch
Without Coezter, a huge hole is left in the Scotland batting line-up but a player who can take up the slack is Matt Machan. At 22, Machan could be a Scottish international for some time and hinted at what he could become with 114 against Kenya in June. His recent form for Sussex is also healthy with two half-centuries in the final two Yorkshire Bank 40 matches - form which saw him called up to the four-day side last week.
Matthew Wade was billed - predictably - as the new Adam Gilchrist when he first appeared and when he took the gloves in the Test side, looked set in as Australia's No. 1 wicketkeeper. But Brad Haddin wasn't seen off and he confirmed his status as Australia's best gloveman in the Ashes. Haddin also has his sights set on the 2015 World Cup, so Wade needs performances to deter the selectors from going back to the tried and tested.
Coetzer's absence leaves Scotland searching for another opening batsman. Hamish Gardiner, Australian-born to a Scottish mother, is set to take Coezter's place and make his international debut. Neil Carter is also unavailable due to work commitments. Preston Mommsen takes over the captaincy from Coezter.
Scotland (possible) 1 Hamish Gardiner, 2 Freddie Coleman, 3 Richie Berrington, 4 Matt Machan, 5 Preston Mommsen (capt), 6 David Murphy (wkt), 7 Rob Taylor, 8 Majid Haq, 9 Gordon Goudie, 10 Iain Wardlaw, 11 Gordon Drummond
Australia's squad is trimmed to 15 for the ODIs with David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Steven Smith leaving the tour. Warner's absence means Shane Watson is likely to open the batting and creates an issue at No. 3. Shaun Marsh could play or perhaps Wade will be given another chance up the order. Michael Clarke could probably use an innings having not played for a week and it's a good chance to have another look at Fawad Ahmed.
Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 George Bailey, 6 Adam Voges, 7 Matthew Wade (wkt), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Fawad Ahmed, 11 Clint McKay
Pitch and conditions
The ODI which survived the weather against Pakistan produced a low-scoring match with wickets tumbling early in both innings. That was the last major match to be played on this ground. No rain is forecast and conditions should be warm and sunny.
Stats and trivia
"They are still a relatively new unit, with some pretty young players, and they don't know each other 100%, so this is probably a good time to be taking them on."
Scotland's stand-in captain Preston Mommsen picks his moment to play Australia.
"We will do a little bit of homework on Scotland. We certainly won't be coming in blind - that's when trouble can occur.''
Matthew Wade recognises how not completing homework can cause issues.
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here.Feeds: Alex Winter
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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