THIS was a rain-interrupted dead rubber against already qualified hosts at the end of a long tournament and it was never going to be the bell-weather of Scotland’s performance at this World Cup.
Scotland v Australia
Bellerive Oval, Hobart
Australia win by 7 wickets
Still, the Scots went out with a whimper rather than a bang. There were five ducks in the batting line up and only the most meagre resistant to the pace attack of Australia. The run chase was brutal as Australia took off in a hurry only the rain prevented them finishing it off before dusk settled
Zero wins from six matches mean that Scotland hold the record for the most consecutive losses in the history of the tournament yet it’s the experience management say is vital for developing their side.
Captain Preston Mommsen said: “We wanted to be as positive as possible today and I think, in the stroke play we had I think it shows we were in a very positive frame of mind.
“We wanted to just go out and express ourselves and unfortunately that meant frequent wickets falling too often and no real partnership and no real platform to give us a real total. I would have batted first if we’d had it again but at the same time they bowled very well.
“I think at the same time it was a good eye opener to see the world’s best and how they operate
and you know where the bar is, at the very top. It’s a good experience for us and we’ll take a lot out of today.
“We knew they would come hard at pace. But you can’t really plan for that pace. You have net bowlers before the game but none of them are coming down at 145,150 kph and when you’re out in the middle, things are amplified.
“How we get more experiences facing that sort of bowling and being put under that sort of pressure I’m not sure but certainly some sort of programme needs to be put in place to expose us to that sort of level of cricket.
“The key is they keep qualifying for these tournaments. (Ireland’s) players build up that bank of experience and when the tough situations come, when the opportunity to win those games come, they seem to do it.
“We have the T20 qualifiers coming up in June and it’s critical we qualify for that competition.”
Australia chose to bowl on what is considered an excellent batting track; a statement of intent perhaps that they wanted to knock over their Associate guests in short order.
The aggressive approach worked with Mitchell Starc taking 4 wickets for just 14 runs as the Scots line up was skittled out in a couple of hours.
Coetzer faced Mitchell Starc first up and a hostile first over was punctuated with a fiery yorker on the Northants’ man’s toes.
The first runs came through the bat of Calum MacLeod with a hard square cut off Cummins for four though it had taken an over and a half for the score to register.
At the other end Kyle Coetzer struggled to get going, Starc’s pace never allowing him to settle and Coetzer was gone by the end of the third over.
He edged to third slip for his second duck in a row. The shine of his 156 against Bangladesh quickly becoming a distant memory with Scotland again losing an early wicket.
Coetzer’s replacement, Matt Machan, batting at number three for the second game in a row, was off the mark with his first ball and a quick single.
Calum MacLeod let loose with three boundaries in as many deliveries. As MacLeod slashed away his fourth four, Cummings let loose a short, sharp bouncer perhaps out of frustration at MacLeod’s nonchalant approach to the quickest of his deliveries.
Machan too got in on the act, punching away his first boundary square of the wicket as the Scots nudged the run rate north of five an over.
Shane Watson was introduced to the attack and his slower seam bowling was given short shrift by Machan who drove the ball straight back past Watson on his way to double figures.
MacLeod’s languid approach to the Aussie fast bowling attack continued as he took five from the next over of Mitchell Starc. But by now Starc had MacLeod’s measure as he first banged in a short ball. MacLeod then couldn’t resist another and slapped another rising delivery to backward point to
end what had been a promising start. His 22 easily the best score of a disappointing few weeks at the crease.
Mommsen was the third to go for Scotland and the second duck of the innings. A shorter ball from Watson easily taken at square leg as Mommsen’s weak, top-edged hook shot only made it as far as the inner circle.
Mitchell Johnson was brought on as the third wheel of an Australian attack dominated by pace.
Freddie Coleman’s first ball from Johnson whistled past the edge of the bat and while Coleman survived the rest of the over, it was a bracing introduction to the feared paceman on his own turf.
The 50 came up for Scotland on a wide from Johnson but the very next ball Coleman edged Johnson to third slip and things were looking bleak with four wickets down. It was a third duck for a batting line-up which has struggled all tournament to piece together a consistent innings.
Richie Berrington didn’t last too much longer, scoring just 1 before a loose shot to the covers saw him caught off the spin of Maxwell.
With Cross at the crease, Michael Clarke moved in for the kill putting in a string of fielders in an attacking field; three slips, a gully, point and short square leg for the bowling of Johnson. Cross, though, had other ideas and split the field with a penetrating cut shot for four.
The next three balls tempted Cross each time and he was perhaps fortunate that none took an edge.
Scotland’s real source of resistance flowed from the bat of Matt Machan who started to take on Johnson’s short deliveries, first hooking one square for four before cutting the next over point for another boundary.
But he too was gone, short of his half century by ten runs, beaten for pace by Cummins as he lofted one to the leg side and the waiting hands of James Faulkner.
Three balls later and Cummins struck again, Cross was removed with an edge to Haddin leaving a tail exposed at 79 for 7 and the prospect of a very early finish in Hobart.
Josh Davey flashed hard at a couple of deliveries from Maxwell including an attacking slog sweep for four as he became just the third in the lineup to reach double figures.
Taylor couldn’t stay with Davey long, facing just six balls and registering another duck.
Michael Leask barely survived his introduction, a yorker from Cummings somehow deflected for a single.
Davey continued to play with some abandon, his fourth four bringing up the 100 for Scotland. At the least a symbolic sign of being in the game.
Michael Leask put together an entertaining cameo of 23 runs off 11 balls before rain interrupted proceedings for a quarter of an hour.
Second ball up after the break though and Davey’s stumps were obliterated by Starc with a yorker.
Wardlaw lasted just two balls and became the fifth duck of the day with Scotland reduced to their lowest score of the tournament, 130 all out.
With an hour to spare before even the break would arrive, Australia set to work.
Aaron Finch took a liking to Ian Wardlaw’s pace as he and Michael Clarke, who’d moved himself up the order, put on 21 runs for the first three overs.
Rob Taylor put a brief stop to the onslaught having bowled a tidy line and length for his two overs.
He was rewarded when Aaron Finch was caught deftly in the covers by Coleman.
Australia’s 50 was reached in 46 balls and they were halfway there by the time ten overs had been bowled.
Shane Watson was finally removed by Davey for 24, Matt Cross taking a looping catch as Watson tried to scoop Davey to fine leg.
Clarke kept up the punishment until Michael Leask took an excellent catch in the deep to remove the Aussie skipper 3 short of his half century.
An hour rain delay did nothing to stop the momentum and first ball back, David Warner launched one into the night sky for six as Australia rattled off 39 runs required in just 12 balls.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS