Not bad for openers, now Kieswetter targets Australia

Scotland 211 England 213-3 (England win by seven wickets)
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The Independent Online

Craig Kieswetter, the son of a Scotswoman, spent most of his school holidays in Edinburgh. He cannot, however, have had many more blissful days in Auld Reekie than this.

On the evidence of an opening partnership of 121 from 15 overs, the wicketkeeper's new alliance with Andrew Strauss will be a cornerstone of England's efforts in the NatWest Series against Australia, starting on Tuesday at the Rose Bowl.

In competitive cricket standards, Scotland are about as close to Australia as Edinburgh is to Melbourne, and England's seven-wicket success was achieved with 16 overs and two balls to spare. But Kieswetter and his captain looked compatible as they raced to half-centuries in in front of a crowd of 3,600.

"It was good to get the win and nice to get off to a good start with Straussy. I'd like to think [I showed him what I can do] and he's got to show me what he can do as well," said Kieswetter, the top-scorer in the World Twenty20 final last month who repeated the trick here, with 69 off 64 balls.

"There was a bit of banter going and I thought we dovetailed quite well as well. When he went quite hard, I took it off the pedal and vice-versa. It wasn't as easy as hopefully we made it look. It was a really good track to bat on but the tactic [Scotland] had with the keeper up was quite challenging as well.

"It's nice to get some runs, and for both openers to get off to a good start will stand us in good stead for the Aussies. [The World Twenty20 final win] has given us a lot of confidence and obviously playing against Australia it's going to be nice and aggressive cricket."

Strauss looks to have a team who know what they are doing, as Gavin Hamilton observed after announcing his resignation as Scotland captain due to work commitments. The former Yorkshire and Durham left- hander made a painstaking 48 as he attempted to drag his young team to a competitive total, but Michael Yardy was the architect of their demise from a promising position of 86 for 1 in the 20th over. The Sussex left-armer's removal of Kyle Coetzer initiated the kind of middle-order collapse for which Scotland are renowned, and England used to be.

With Tim Bresnan and Ryan Sidebottom not yet ready to return from injury, Ajmal Shahzad grasped his opportunity with both hands. Playing his second one-day international, the Yorkshire bowler was accurate at the outset and clinical at the death, reminding Stuart Broad of the value of pitching the ball up.

Scotland's 211 was never likely to be competitive on a surface from which two elite sides would have shared 600 runs without pausing for thought.

Gone, however, are the days when a Scotland captain would agree with the visiting captain to fix the toss for the greater good. Hamilton took one look at the surface and, after calling correctly, gave his men first use of the wicket. Coetzer, who has been in and out of the Durham team for the past three years, hit an enterprising 51, adding 86 for the second wicket with his watchful captain, but Hamilton watched the rest of his middle order come and go before dancing down the track to Graeme Swann and swishing at thin air.

The hosts lost four wickets for 34 runs between the 20th and 30th overs and Yardy was their chief tormentor, especially when Swann was at the other end, tightening the vice. The left-armer induced a leading edge from Coetzer, a soft end to a fine innings, before winkling out the Middlesex 19-year-old Josh Davey and the great home hope, Richie Berrington.

Hamilton's dismissal and Neil McCallum's exit for 22 ended the Scots' ambitions of setting a par score and the crowd's hopes of seeing 100 overs. Dougie Lockhart, a Glasgow stockbroker, made good use of the batting powerplay to contribute 46, but James Anderson and Shahzad did not miss at the death. The latter ran through the defences of Lockhart and the No 11, Ross Lyons, in the final over to win a reward for his economy.

Strauss took a look at the military medium of Gordon Drummond, who will take over from Hamilton, and launched him for two boundaries in the first over. He continued in that vein until holing out to leg off the off-spin of Majid Haq, departing for 61 off 37 balls. Kevin Pietersen was dropped by an airborne Josh Davey on 12 but it does not take much to make Pietersen run out of patience. Keen to take a single off Haq, he was sent back in consecutive balls by Paul Collingwood. He then tried to slog-sweep, levering an easy catch to long-on. Collingwood, ever conscientious, made sure there were no further flutters.

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