|ICC Intercontinental Cup 2011-2013|
Haq hands Scotland the initiative
MAJID Haq last night kept Scotland in contention for maximum points from their Intercontinental Cup clash with Namibia.
The Clydesdale spinner claimed three vital wickets during a marathon 22-over spell as the initiative changed hands frequently on a hard-fought day at the Wanderers in Windhoek.
Scotland enjoyed a fine start when they boosted their overnight total of 268-7 to reach 350.
However, they did not have it all their own way in pursuit of the first innings bonus points and by the close it was still finely balanced with the hosts on 230-6.
It was little surprise that the attack-minded Africans responded to their challenge by going on the offensive with Pikky Ya France and Christi Viljoen launching a series of attacking strokes.
This made for a baptism of fire for the young Dunfermline seamer Safyaan Sharif who came in for particular punishment from the Namibian top order men.
Sharif, on his first-class debut, had hoped to make the breakthrough but was instead removed from the attack after nine overs at a cost of 56 runs.
Gordon Goudie, also expensive, had success when he found the edge of Viljoen’s bat for Simon Smith to take the catch.
Meanwhile, the introduction of Gordon Drummond stemmed the flow of runs and brought immediate reward when Ya France’s dangerous tenure was brought to an end.
The hard-hitting opener had made 38 with six boundaries when he was trapped in front by the Scotland captain.
A stand of 67 between Sarel Burger and home skipper Craig Williams stalled the Scots further though Haq pegged them back with three consecutive maidens before Davey had Burger well caught for 47 by Richie Berrington.
Williams and Gerrie Snyman then reclaimed control before Haq began to weave his magic.
Williams had just reached a half-century when he was bowled by the spinner who then had Snyman well caught by Mommsen for 44.
Haq claimed a third wicket before the close with Namibia still needing 121 runs and Scotland four wickets to secure the first innings lead.
Resuming on 268-7, the Scots had earlier frustrated their hosts with some spirited tail-end batting.
Dummond was first to go when he was bowled by Viljoen who then completed a splendid five-wicket haul by having Sharif caught for 11.
However, Smith and Goudie produced the stand that really raised Scottish spirits.
Three years ago Namibia’s last pair had scored 47 to snatch victory from the Scots in dramatic fashion so it was perhaps apt that Scotland’s final pair added exactly that number of runs to at least partially settle an old score.
Smith was content to play the secondary role with a patient 75-ball 35 while No.11 Goudie had licence to take the attack to the Namibians.
He did so in some style with seven crushing boundaries in his 31 before a straight ball from Snyman brought the fun to an end.
Scotland coach Pete Steindl admitted: “It was a tough day’s cricket particularly the second session when we didn’t bowl with enough discipline.
“We bowled too many loose balls and it took the captain and Majid to turn things around. They stemmed the flow of runs and got us back into it.
“The game is finely balanced and we have to start positively in the morning.”