The next part of Australia’s tour of the British Isles, the One Day International Fixtures, kicks off in Edinburgh this evening (Australian time). A game of international standing, this fixture has been couched by many as merely a warm up game however it is game that both sides will be desperate to win.
Outside of Scotland and unless you are an ardent student of the game you will know little about Scottish cricket. Their team for this game has been weakened by the loss of Scotland’s captain, Kyle Coezter. Replacing Coezter is an Australian born opener in Hamish Gardiner who uses his mother’s Scottish heritage to make his international debut against the land of his birth here. Natal born off spinning all-rounder, Preston Mommsen, will lead the Scottish in this game.
A player to watch for Scotland will be off break bowler Majid Haq. Currently the most experienced bowler in the Scottish line up, Haq is a home grown talent hailing from Paisley in Renfrewshire. He bowls a tight line and is generally quite miserly when it comes to runs scored off his bowling. That tight bowling will be needed if the Scots are to restrain Australia to a responsible total.
The Australian team come into this game off the back of its first victory in any form of the game since February. Darren Lehmann has been overt in the press in recent days that Australia is not treating this game as a warm up fixture and will select its best line up in Edinburgh including Michael Clarke is he is fit. All eyes will be on Aaron Finch to see if he can replicate his dominant display last time out against England in the T20 format whilst it seems likely that mature age leg spinner, Fawad Ahmed, will make his debut in the ODI form of the game in this fixture.
Scotland has beaten Australia before in cricket contests: one just has to look back to 1882 for the only time that occurred. A better form line is presented by the last two fixtures between the two teams, at the 2007 World Cup and the same game in 2009, which ended in 203 run and 189 run victories to Australia respectively. For the Australian players, at stake is reputation risk: a bad performance here, particularly by those striving for higher honours in the baggy green come 21 November, could see one’s card marked “not to be selected” by the NSP.
It is difficult to see anything other than an Australian victory in this game against a line up principally made up of 2nd XI players from the English County Competition. The length of the game may be largely determined by whomever wins the toss of the coin.