<
>

Drummond thrilled at 'dream start'

Calum MacLeod celebrates a wicket ICC

Gordon Drummond believes he has had a "dream start" to his captaincy tenure after leading Scotland to victory against Canada in the Intercontinental Cup opener at Aberdeen. Scotland secured a hard-fought 29-run victory in a low-scoring contest which ended in three days.

"I am delighted to have contributed to my team's success in the first match of the tournament," Drummond said. "It's always important to start on a winning note and I am delighted to help my team have achieved it."

Drummond, a fast bowler playing only his fourth first-class game, made crucial contributions to Scotland's victory, more so with the bat than with the ball. He came in with his team struggling at 102 for 8 in the first innings and scored 52 invaluable runs, lifting the score to 185. After picking up two wickets in Canada's first innings, Drummond played another important innings, scoring 34 after Scotland had been reduced to 99 for 7 to take their lead past 200.

"It was time for me to take more responsibility with the bat and build partnerships so that we could give something to our bowlers to defend," Drummond said. "It was all about staying at the crease because we had a long batting line-up and we knew if we managed to hang in there, we would be able to post a respectable score on the board."

Both teams' batsmen struggled for success on the Mannofield Park pitch and 39 wickets fell in 256.2 overs during less than three days' play. Three innings folded for less than 200 while Canada's 213 chasing 243 for victory was the highest total of the match. Drummond, however, said the conditions were not bad for batting.

"I think the conditions were good for cricket. And if 39 wickets fell in three days, it was more due to a combination of lack of discipline by the batsmen and quality bowling by the bowlers than terrors on the wicket," he said. "However, I do believe both the sides were a bit rusty and as all the teams in the tournament are almost of equal strength, it will be down to be how quickly the teams can adapt to the given conditions and deliver winning performances."

Canada ran Scotland close over the three days and their captain, Umar Bhatti, was appreciative of his team's effort. "I think we played reasonably good cricket. Yes, our batting let us down but overall we showed a good account of ourselves," Bhatti said. "The batting was a bit rusty as we were playing our first four-day match after a long time and the batsmen found it hard to switch from the one-day mode to the longer version. The batsmen tried to play too many strokes when the need of the hour was to occupy the crease and stay in the middle as long as possible.

"Despite our batting failures, I think we can draw a lot of positives out of this match. The fielding was top class as we held everything that came our way except for one catch while the bowling of Khurram Chohan was outstanding."

Chohan, who played first-class cricket in Pakistan and also represented Pakistan Under-19, took 6 for 37 in the first innings and 3 for 50 in the second. "As far as I am concerned, Khurram was the player of the match," Bhatti said. "He was very unlucky to miss out on a ten-wicket haul. He used the new ball very intelligently and severely tested the batsmen all through the match by bowling in the corridor of uncertainty."