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All-rounder Taylor believes Scots have the skill to get the better of England

SCOTLAND may not have achieved the history-making win they sought when facing England's finest in a rain-curtailed ODI in Aberdeen on Friday but their players still emerged with a spring in their step, confident that the day may not be far away when they finally claim the scalp of a Test-playing country.

Indeed, there will be five opportunities to meet ICC Full Member countries during next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and Rob Taylor, one of Scotland's recent recruits on the parentage rule, believes a landmark win is close.

The Leicestershire all-rounder, aware that a return clash with the Auld Enemy beckons in Christchurch in February, took encouragement from several aspects of Friday's performance.

On a personal level he was delighted to claim the notable scalp of England's opening pair, captain Alastair Cook and top-scorer Ian Bell, but in broader terms he is convinced Scotland are still a work in progress.

"To get both Cook and Bell was nice," said Taylor. "The Cook wicket was a bit unexpected. It wasn't a great delivery and needed a stunning catch by Calum [MacLeod] on the boundary but I was pleased with the ball that got Bell.

"To show England that we have bowlers with good skills, batsmen who can bat fearlessly as Michael [Leask] did sends out a message that on another day we can get over the line against them. We certainly showed them we're tricky opposition."

One of the areas where there appears little room for improvement is in the fielding department, which drew warm praise from Cook. In addition to that catch by MacLeod, Taylor himself took an exceptional one to dismiss Jos Buttler while some flawless ground fielding belied the conditions.

The England captain said: "It was a great fielding effort by Scotland - among the best I've seen. Even if the conditions had been dry you'd have to praise how they performed but, given the wet outfield, it really was exceptional."

Iain Wardlaw was another of Scotland's wicket-takers and, like Taylor, the former Yorkshire player has a World Cup target. Unlike Taylor, though, Wardlaw no longer enjoys the benefit of playing on the county circuit.

To enhance his prospects of taking part in cricket's biggest tournament Wardlaw recently signed a Cricket Scotland contract to remain a full-time player until the end of 2015. As part of the deal, Wardlaw has been assigned fast bowling duties with the Reivers in the inaugural North Sea Pro Series. He played his part as Steve Knox's side opened up last weekend with wins in both T20 and 50-over formats against Holland's Hurricanes.

Meanwhile, there is local business to attend to tomorrow and Tuesday when Wardlaw lines up against some Scotland colleagues, including flat-mate Preston Mommsen, who will represent the Highlanders in a derby double-header at Arbroath.

"Signing for Cricket Scotland was a good move for me because it keeps me heavily involved," Wardlaw said. "I've loved the start with the Reivers and we've quickly established a strong team identity and spirit. The two wins last weekend have given us a bit of momentum and we want to keep that going against the Highlanders especially as there are so many local rivalries.

"I'm looking forward to my own duel with Preston and, of course, there has been plenty of banter between us in the build-up."

The Highlanders, who also opened with a T20 win (against the Seafarers), are bidding to bounce back after slipping up in the Pro 50.

William Dick

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