|ICC Intercontinental Cup 2011-2013|
Haq brightens up Mannofield gloom
MAJID Haq hit an international best of 89no as play finally got underway in the I-Cup encounter between Scotland and the Netherlands at Mannofield yesterday.
After two days watching incessant rain the Clydesdale batsman took out his frustrations on a toiling Dutch attack as the Scots claimed the initiative.
However, the wet weather returned during the evening session with the Scots well placed on 237-3 but now surely running out of time to force a positive result.
The best they can hope for when play resumes this morning is to score quickly and then bowl the Dutch out cheaply to claim the thirteen points on offer for a first innings lead.
There was little surprise when Peter Borren, having won the toss, quickly invited Scotland to bat in conditions which were clearly in favour seam and swing bowling.
In the event, Fraser Watts and Ryan Flannigan showed great resolve in seeing off the new ball though neither Mudassar Bukhari nor Berend Westdijk found a consistent line or length.
Both batsmen eased early nerves with boundaries, Watts guiding one to third man and Flannigan slashing positively and safely over the slip cordon.
Boundaries, though, were a rarity, given the heavy outfield and the batsmen also moved well between the wickets to accumulate the runs.
The Scots had moved without undue alarm to 40 and looked set to go on when Watts, on 23, played loosely at a delivery from Bukhari and looked on in dismay as the ball caught the under-edge of his bat and rolled onto the stumps.
His departure paved the way for the arrival of Haq, promoted to preserve the order of Scotlandís more recognised batsmen, and the Clydesdale player took his chance by joining Flannigan in a century stand.
The left-hander survived several chances particularly when dropped early on in the slips by Eric Swarczynski who succeeded only in sustaining a hand injury serious enough to require a quick trip to the local hospital.
Haq benefited from another couple of spills from the Dutch fielders but mixed some streaky shots with some typically classy drives through the cover region.
Flannigan, meanwhile, moved smoothly to his maiden First Class century, the landmark coming from 93 balls and including seven boundaries, the best of them a firm drive to the cover rope.
The Watsonians batsman had advanced to 60 when Bukhari had his revenge, hitting the stumps as Flannigan attempted to force the pace.
However, Kyle Coetzer took up where Flannigan had left off as another substantial partnership put the Scots in the driving seat.
The Durham batsman showed his undoubted class with five well executed boundaries and an effortless pulled six off Pieter Seelaar.
Having reached 52 from 87 balls, though, Coetzer was went on his way by umpire Niels Bagh who gave Borren the benefit of an lbw decision.
Preston Mommsen survived an equally confident shout from the next delivery before the players were soon scurrying from the field as yet more rain descended on the drenched Mannofield surface.
Haq will bid to complete a maiden international century this morning while the timing of skipper Gordon Drummondís declaration may determine whether either side can harbour genuine hopes of forcing the first innings win.