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Inexperienced Scots taught a lesson as coach Bradburn continues to learn

After seeing the young cricketers he watched grow up in his homeland over-power, for the second time in six days, those he is charged with developing, Grant Bradburn believes his Scotland players should now fully understand what is required if they want to go to the World Cup.

Scotland's Michael Leask is stumped by New Zealand wicket-keeper Tom Latham. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Scotland's Michael Leask is stumped by New Zealand wicket-keeper Tom Latham. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Two 23-year-olds who bear one of the most famous surnames in Kiwi cricket were instrumental in setting the tone for both innings. Michael Bracewell scored one of two centuries for the visitors before Doug, the older by a few months, rattled through the Scottish top order at the Grange, in a match New Zealand A won by 97 runs.

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However, their fellow New Zealander Bradburn - he arrived in Scotland little more than a month ago to take charge of the national team and its preparations for next year's World Cup - believes these matches, alongside a match today which is threatened by inclement weather, will prove a valuable source of experience.

"Daily I'm learning more about this group of players," said the Scotland coach. "I know more about the opposition still than our own players at the moment, but my philosophies are simple around knowing what a performance looks like and I think you got a pretty good idea by looking at the opposition what performance looks like at this level."

He was particularly pleased with a well-paced 99-run partnership between Hamish Gardiner and Richie Berrington during Scotland's innings but was critical of the team's fielding performance. The coach also made it clear that everyone will be under intense scrutiny in the World Cup build-up, which includes tours to Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies.

"That's given us a clear bench-mark so it's about being able to show you can perform under fatigue and under pressure at this level," said Bradburn. "There have been some pleasing glimpses of players who have shown that, but there are also some senior players who haven't yet shown that and everyone knows that at the moment there's no seats [are filled] on that plane.

"No-one's a certainty. It's through performance that they will cement their spot. For us it's also about giving guys opportunities and just really giving ourselves some options for guys to play the roles we're wanting them to play, giving them the opportunity to own those roles.

"As of yet we're still very early in the piece in the build-up to the World Cup and, from a coaching staff point of view, we're very much in a phase of jostling for positions. We're clear on the roles that need to be played and our intention is to build competition around each of those roles."

Michael Bracewell top scored, while Grant Elliott also registered a century and Hamish Rutherford made clear his profound disgust at having failed narrowly to do likewise as New Zealand's second-string batsmen once again ran amok. They rattled up an unchaseable total of 369 for the loss of just six wickets.

The Scots put down three costly catches in the course of that innings, Bracewell and Rutherford the beneficiaries. However, just as they had against England in their only one-day international of this domestic summer, the Scots did offer evidence of an ability to field in spectacular fashion. Gardiner caught the ball while heading towards the boundary then, as he was about to cross the rope, kept his balance sufficiently to throw it to Michael Leask some 10 yards away, to the chagrin of batsman Daryl Mitchell.

Since Madjid Haq had sent down that delivery, too, there was a sense of some justice having been done, but by then the total was on 343. When he finished his spell at the end of that, the 49th over, the man who is frequently Scotland's best bowler had gone for 69 runs off his 10 overs.

Not that he was by any means the most expensive bowler this time around either. Ian Wardlaw went for 75 off his nine overs in return for one wicket, Berrington for 37 off his five and Calum MacLeod for 14 off the one he bowled, while even Rob Taylor - who had the best figures after taking three wickets - went for 68 off his 10.

Having been thrashed by 199 runs at Ayr last week, it looked as though it might be a similar story or worse yesterday when both openers departed for ducks. Gardiner, who had shown good intent from the off, and Craig Wallace then brought about something of a recovery, taking the score to 53 before Bracewell hit the stumps again, yorking Wallace who looked beaten for pace.

Gardiner and Berrington then brought some respectability to proceedings with a 99-run partnership at a decent rate before, just after reaching his half century, the latter holed out at long on.

His departure precipitated something of a collapse, Gardiner - who batted well for his senior Scotland best of 82 - among four men to join him in the pavilion as only 30 more runs were added. However, Haq put up stubborn resistance in registering a near run-a-ball half century, the Scot receiving support from David Murphy in a 61-run eighth wicket stand and scrambling to within 100 runs this time around before running himself out to end the game.

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