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McCallum century leads Scotland fightback

Scotland finishes the day with 212 runs

McCallum century leads Scotland fightback - Cricket News
>Neil McCallum scored a hundred.
A century on the opening day of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2009-10 final from Neil McCallum saw Scotland fight back from 97-8 to finish the day on a respectable 212 all out despite early wickets from Hamid Hassan and Mirwais Ashraf at Dubai Sports City Stadium today.

The medium pace bowlers claimed the majority of the spoils, with Hamid claiming match figures of 5-45 to help limit the Scots on the first day of the five-day final in Dubai. However, had it not been for an impressive century from Neil McCallum the Scots would have been in a more difficult position going into tomorrow's play.

At the Dubai Sports City stadium, Gordon Drummond won the toss and elected to bat in an attempt to pile on the runs against an in-form Afghanistan.

Drummond, however, did not bank on his side at one point flailing on 97-8 after Hamid and Mirwais tempted one too many a Scotsman into flicking the ball into the safe hands of either an Afghan fielder or Mohammed Shahzad, the side's wicketkeeper.

McCallum managed to steady things for the side and alongside Simon Smith managed to guide the team to a more respectable total at the close of the first day's play after nobody in Scotland's top three managed to make more than five runs.

Opening batsman, Fraser Watts departed early for just five runs, while Kyle Coetzer was caught behind off the bowling of Hamid for a duck, with the side at one point on a mere 19 runs with three wickets down after Sharpoor Zadran and Hamid combined to destroy the batting line-up.

McCallum was impressed with the bowling attack of the Afghanistan side, praising Hamid and also Shapoor.

"The Afghan bowlers did well today and credit has to go to Hamid Hassan and also Shapoor Zadran for their strong bowling. A couple of the batsmen got themselves out by playing poor shots but the Afghan bowlers did well today," said McCallum.

"Their bowlers just seemed to bowl it tight and in the right places to restrict us with our total and I just managed to settle myself and steady the ship with Simon Smith who batted extremely well today.

"Obviously it was pleasing to take an early wicket after we'd finished our innings and I won't lie, we would have liked to take more than one tonight, but it puts us in good stead ahead of tomorrow where we need to make sure we restrict their run scoring," concluded the 33-year-old from Edinburgh.

Afghanistan's Hamid Hassan paid credit to McCallum at the close of play admitting that the Scotsman's innings had been the saving grace for the opposition but admitting that his side should have got him out earlier.

"Credit should go to Neil McCallum for his innings, he worked hard and in the end was scoring five or six off an over which worked well for him and his side in the long run today.

"We could have got him out a couple of times but we didn't hold onto important catches and as the saying goes, ?Catches win matches'," said Hamid.

"I bowled a lot of overs today and my feet are really hurting but I hope that by the time the second innings comes around I'll be good to bowl again and help bring us victory," he concluded.

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