CALUM MacLEOD, the Scotland batsman, enjoyed a spectacular debut for Durham's first team last night, setting up a 29-run victory over Worcestershire with a top score of 80.
As MacLeod confirmed his potential as a Twenty20 weapon on the county scene, there was a certain poetry about his emergence as Paul Collingwood joined him at the crease for most of his 56-ball innings.
It was Collingwood who, while coaching Scotland over the winter, spotted MacLeod's skill with the bat and encouraged the county he captains to give him a month-long trial in April. MacLeod scored heavily for the 2nd XI and was invited back, and began to repay that statement of faith last night at the Riverside.
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Although Collingwood's 62 off 38 balls and three for 29 made him man of the match, it was his fourth-wicket stand of 113 with MacLeod that proved the undoing of Worcester. The Scot found himself at the crease in the first over and when Durham slumped to 33 for three, Collingwood joined him. The former England captain raced to 50 off 31 balls and MacLeod took nine deliveries longer.
The Stepps man's knock included seven fours and two sixes, both plundered off the bowling of Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal. The Worcestershire chase started positively but two MacLeod catches helped to keep them at bay and they were all out for 144 with six balls to spare.
MacLeod, 25, is getting his second chance in county cricket after his Warwickshire career ended when his bowling action was deemed illegal. He reformed himself as a batsman and hit a Scottish one-day international record 175 against Canada earlier this year.