Lack of discipline costs Saltires dearly
Willie Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
SCOTLAND combined their most complete batting display of the season with arguably their worst bowling one as Durham cruised to an easy CB40 victory in the sun yesterday.
A superb century from Jean Symes had guided the Saltires to 258-4 at the Emirates Durham ICG.
However, the South African’s effort was undermined by a lack of discipline with the ball.
Symes was also ultimately upstaged by Mark Stoneman who stroked a brilliant 136no as the county raced to an eight-wicket win.
Hopes had been high that the Saltires’ highest 40-over total for almost two years would be converted into a second victory of the campaign.
Instead, the Scottish bowlers, perhaps unnerved by the aggression of the Durham openers, completely failed to settle into any sort of rhythm.
A series of wayward deliveries were seized upon by Stoneman and Phil Mustard who scored at almost eight runs an over to quickly claim the initiative.
Ali Evans and Matty Parker shared the early punishment but even the introduction of skipper Gordon Drummond and Josh Davey brought no respite, the pair being greeted into the attack with a boundary.
Even the normally parsimonious Majid Haq saw his first over bludgeoned for twelve runs as the relentless assault continued.
Stoneman was first to reach his half-century from 47 balls while Mustard followed soon after, needing only 40 deliveries.
There was even the rarity of a dropped catch by Preston Mommsen and a mis-field by Richie Berrington to compound the misery.
Stoneman went on to record a blistering century from only 87 balls while
Mustard fell nine runs short of three figures, caught at mid-on by Evans off Parker.
However, the county openers had put on 207 in 27 overs and victory was already assured.
The end came all-too quickly, the county losing a further wicket when Ben Stokes fell to Haq but reaching their target with more than six overs to spare.
It was in stark contrast to earlier events as the Saltires batsmen recovered from last week’s disappointing display against Hampshire.
Symes may have had his doubters among Saltires supporters when he recorded a duck on debut against Surrey earlier in the month.
However, he proved himself a class act with a beautifully-timed innings of power and skill.
The tone for a successful batting display from the Scots was set when Jamie Harrison over-stepped with the first delivery of the game and Davey dispatched the free hit over the short mid-wicket boundary.
Davey and Calum MacLeod posted 33 for the first wicket in the face of some hostile bowling from Graham Onions.
The former England pace bowler may rather have been performing in the Trent Bridge test but he was nothing less than fully committed to his county’s cause.
Onions it was who made the breakthrough when a leading edge from Davey lobbed up to Stoneman at cover.
Symes, circumspect initially, and MacLeod set about rebuilding the innings before gradually moving through the gears in a stand of 86 in fourteen overs.
MacLeod led the way by whipping a couple of ferocious drives to the cover boundary while Symes just cleared Mitchell Claydon at deep square leg for the first of his three sixes.
MacLeod, looking set for his second half-century of the campaign, fell two runs short when he chased one from Claydon and edged to Mustard.
However, the platform had been set and Symes, with the help of Berrington and Mommsen, took full advantage.
Berrington’s run-a-ball 29 included four boundaries while Mommsen’s unbeaten 31 came at the same rapid rate.
However, centre stage belonged to Symes who, having survived a chance on 43, reached fifty came from 62 deliveries but needed just 29 more balls to post his century.
The landmark included nine boundaries and two sixes and, by the time he was bowled by Plunkett from the final delivery of the innings, the powerful left-hander had sent one further maximum soaring into the pavilion.
Sadly, it was all in vain.