Tide turns for Scots against Netherlands

SCOTLAND are set to snatch back pole position in the race to reach the Intercontinental Cup final in Dubai later this year after turning the screw on the Netherlands in Deventer yesterday on the third day of what could be a pivotal contest in the competition.

The Saltires seized control with some unexpected resistance from their tail-end batsman, plus another fine bowling display. And with the hosts trailing by 13 runs with just two wickets left standing heading into the final day, Gordon Drummond's men look poised to take an innings victory and leapfrog Afghanistan into first place in the standings.

Starting the day on 273-7, Matty Parker piled on the pressure with a sparkling 65-run haul, with Gregor Maiden (40), Majid Haq (30) and an unbeaten 44 from Gordon Goudie capping a resolute contribution from the lower order as Scotland reached 391 all out. "We set ourselves a target of getting 150 in front as quickly as possible," revealed coach Pete Steindl. "And to be 181 in front before lunch was even better."

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With such an extravagant cushion, the Saltires bowlers could afford to go for broke, reducing the Dutch to 52-3.

Eric Szwarczynski hit 62 to hold the attack off until he lofted short to Preston Mommsen but steady spells from Gordon Drummond and Haq kept the hosts firmly under the cosh. Gaps opened up and mistakes were made and Berrington capitalised, taking three wickets for just 19. However Peter Borren maintained the Dutch resistance, reaching 52 not out by the close to make the Scots wait a little longer for victory.

"We asked for the extra half-hour and if we'd had one more wicket, we might have got it," Steindl added. "But it was a really solid team performance and we now have to finish it off. The pleasing thing was the consistency throughout. Matty batted extremely well, as did Goudie. But then we kept up the pressure with the bowling with a lot of dot balls. And even though Richie got the three wickets, everyone contributed."