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Morea, Bau fifties boost PNG

Sharif grabs four as side reaches 285 for 7 on opening day of Intercontinental match against Scotland.
Norman Vanua guiding one through slips .JPG

Half-centuries by Vani Morea and Sese Bau, and contributions from Lega Siaka and Jack Vare helped Papua New Guinea reach 285 for 7 on the first day of the Intercontinental match against Scotland at Amini Park in Papua New Guinea on Sunday (October 1).

Safyaan Sharif, the right-arm medium pacer, was the pick of the Scottish bowlers, returning with figures of 4 for 69 in 18 overs before stumps were called after 82.4 overs.

Opting to bat first, PNG lost Tony Ura, its opener, in just the fifth over of the day to Sharif with the score on 27. However, Morea, his opening partner, hit his straps early, smashing nine boundaries en route a 52-ball 53 to drive his team forward.

The momentum shifted when Sharif snaffled Morea to reduce the side to 78 for 2, which soon became 78 for 3 in the space of two deliveries, when the medium pacer accounted for Assad Vala, the PNG skipper, for a second-ball duck.

Siaka and Bau then got together to provide some stability to the innings as they carved a 73-run partnership for the fifth wicket before Sharif hit back again to claim his fourth victim, castling Siaka for 48.

Bau reached his maiden first-class half-century, his innings laced with eight hits to the fence, but could not carry on for much longer with Alasdair Evans getting rid of the batsman for 51. Mark Watt, the left-arm spinner, then got into the act, snapping up Mahuru Dai to leave PNG at 206 for 6.

Chad Soper (32 not out) and Norman Vanua (17 not out) were the unbeaten batsman at the crease when play ended on the first day.

PNG, with two wins and three losses in five games, is fourth on the points table, while Scotland, still searching for its first win after five games, is placed sixth.

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