Rain brings a premature end to an evenly-balanced first day
The Netherlands had slightly the better of the first session of their Intercontinental Cup match against the United Arab Emirates in Deventer, reaching 97 for two by lunch, but with Michael Swart falling in the seven overs which were possible after the interval before rain ended play for the day, the honours were just about even.
Peter Borren was declared unfit before the start, having sustained a finger injury against Leicestershire last week, and with Stephan Myburgh, Mudassar Bukhari, and Ahsan Malik Jamil also out through injuries, there were first-class debuts for Shahbaz Bashir and Sebastiaan Braat (the latter making his full international debut for the Netherlands in any class of cricket), and a call-up for opener Steven de Bruin.
It was De Bruin who went out with Wesley Barresi to face the bowling after Khurram Khan won the toss and elected to field, and this pair began quietly, putting on 20 before De Bruin edged a delivery from left-arm seamer Manjula Guruge to keeper Amjad Ali.
Barresi, though, was batting with increasing confidence, and with stand-in skipper Swart initially playing a supporting role, he advanced towards a fine half-century. Swart, too, began to play more freely, and by the 23rd over, half an hour before lunch, Khurram turned to spin, bringing on Mohammad Tauqir.
Barresi’s response was to strike three splendid boundaries, bringing up his fifty from 75 deliveries with nine fours, but two balls later he was caught by Ahmed Raza. It was Barresi's second half-century in the competition and his eighth for the Netherlands; and the pair had added 64 in fifteen and a half overs.
Swart had reached 29 by the interval, and added four more before he was trapped in front by Tauqir. Eric Szwarczynski, who had started confidently, continued in partnership with Shahbaz, but after a couple more overs the rain began in earnest, and the players left the field. After two hours of inactivity, it was agreed to abandon play for the day.
The Emirates' trio of seamers, Shafiq Asadullah, Guruge and Amjad Javed, maintained a steady line and length for most of the pre-lunch session, while Tauqir and Ahmed Raza, who bowled ten overs of spin between them, received enough help from the pitch to suggest that the slower bowlers will play a key role in this game.
Weather permitting, the match will resume at 10:30 on Tuesday, with a minimum 104 overs to be bowled in the day.