Cricket: Philip fillip leads Scots towards huge target

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The Independent Online
THE VETERAN Scotland batsman, Iain Philip, stood between Australia A and certain victory when rain washed out the first mini-Test at the Grange Club in Edinburgh yesterday.

After the tourists' captain, Michael Di Venuto, had declared overnight with his side 393 runs ahead, Philip withstood the onslaught from Adam Dale and Brendon Julian to reach a fine unbeaten half-century. The 40- year-old Stenhousemuir opener had seen five of his colleagues dismissed as the Scots once again struggled to cope with the step up in class.

They had made just 85 before Ian Stanger was bowled by Colin Miller's off-spin in the over before lunch.

Dale was the main wicket-taker, producing a devastating 12-over spell which brought him 3 for 29, while Julian made the breakthrough, removing Bryn Lockie lbw in the second over before a run had been scored.

However, Philip again demonstrated the class and concentration which have brought him almost 5,000 runs in his international career. He faced 78 balls in his unbeaten 50, striking seven fours and even lifting the dangerous Dale over the mid-wicket boundary. With a little support from the tail, he may even had his sights set on a 12th century for his country.

However, persistent drizzle denied both Philip and the Australians. The batsman, who found himself out of favour at the start of the season, now looks a certainty to lead Scotland's World Cup challenge next summer.

"I was beginning to enjoy it out there and certainly have aspirations to go to the World Cup," he said. "A lot of people seemed to think that because I had turned 40 I'd stopped being a good player, and maybe I was beginning to believe it as well. But I've enjoyed the challenge of facing a top class bowling attack."

The sides meet again in a one-day clash at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, tomorrow.

Sussex were closing in on their first county championship win in six games at Eastbourne yesterday, where Durham struggled to 88 for 5 after following on 262 behind. The former Yorkshire and Northamptonshire seamer, Mark Robinson, who took 3 for 43 as Durham were dismissed for 198 in their first innings, followed up with three more wickets to have the visitors in disarray.

Durham's second innings got off to a disastrous start with James Kirtley having John Morris caught at slip for eight. Robinson then removed Nick Speak, Jimmy Daley and captain David Boon cheaply.

The left-arm swing bowler Jason Lewry took his season's tally to 48 by trapping opener Michael Gough leg-before in his first over and the former Sussex player Martin Speight and Paul Collingwood were together at tea, with their side still needing 174 to make Sussex bat again.

Earlier, Speight struck a defiant unbeaten 60 as Durham, resuming on 116 for 5, were hustled out just before lunch. Speight, dropped on two off Kirtley the night before, stroked seven fours off 177 balls in his three-and-a-half-hour innings.