Scotland in good shape to top ICC table

SCOTLAND are set to leap to the top of the Intercontinental Cup pecking order, thanks to a superb batting display from their middle-men.

Peter Steindl's side had been in a jittery position in the early stages of day two of the contest against the Netherlands at Deventer. But half-centuries by Richie Berrington and Neil McCallum ensured the Scots earned a precious first-innings lead.

They now need only to avoid a late slump for a draw at worst to jump over Afghanistan at the top of the table.

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The Scots ended the day on 273 for seven, a lead of 63. Resuming at 16 for one, they crumbled to 61 for four, before Berrington and McCallum staged their salvage act with a brilliant century stand.

New cap Preston Mommsen was the first to depart for 18, with nightwatchman Simon Smith then perishing for seven having done a sterling job in helping to blunt the new-ball attack.

Qasim Sheikh, who had been in prolific form previously in the tournament, looked ill at ease and it was no surprise when he was dismissed for 15.

Berrington and McCallum then took the tally to 194 when the former chipped a return catch to home skipper Peter Borren for 82, after a 161-ball innings that featured nine boundaries.

McCallum maintained the momentum with Grange clubmate Gregor Maiden, taking his score to 51 before nicking to slip. Like Berrington, Maiden (40) batted stoutly to reach his highest first-class score, thumping four fours in 59 balls at a critical stage of the game. With two days left and Matthew Parker (27no) in the middle with Majid Haq (6no), Scotland will aim for a three-figure lead and then leave it to the bowlers to finish the job.

Scotland manager Steindl will order his men not to rest on their laurels, despite batting themselves into a dominant position against the Dutch.

He said: "It is vital we build on the good work we achieved. The morning had been tough for our guys and it was important to establish a couple of partnerships.

"Berrington and McCallum were tremendous together and they lifted the tempo at the right time. Just as important was the stand between Maiden and Parker, who looked very positive."

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