Scotland cricket captain Preston Mommsen has challenged his team to seize the moment in a rare four day match with Australia A, starting today at Raeburn Place.
The Scots break from the traditional one-day programme knowing that to progress up the ladder they will have to prove themselves capable of competing in all formats. The Aussies’ visit is certainly a chance to prepare for a forthcoming Inter-Continental Cup fixture against Kenya next month.
However, Mommsen is aware this is a step up against opponents, who include members of their Ashes squad, saying: “There’s no hiding from the fact it is going to be a tough challenge, yet one which makes it all the more exciting.”
The Australian squad will be led by Ashes vice–captain Brad Haddin and includes the near full–strength pace bowling attack of Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Jackson Bird and James Pattinson, plus spinner Nathan Lyon and batsman Usman Khawaja.
Mommsen added: “If anyone goes out and produces something special for us, it is not going to go unnoticed and that’s a big incentive.
“There’s a challenge for us in terms of how we stay in the game for as long as possible playing a quality side like Australia A.
“We are pretty much asking for something special to make it go all the way.
“It’s uncharted territory for us.
“What we have to do is give it everything and hope for a few things to go our way. That would produce a massive result.
“We do try to get our second team playing county fixtures over three days and in some respects that is a stepping stone.”
Mommsen has been in rich form with the bat in one day matches.
Unbeaten innings of 60 and 70 have been followed by two knocks of 42, but the Carlton all-rounder maintained he’d had to graft his way back to form.
“Personally, I had a tough time in the UAE with Scotland over the winter, but I’ve worked hard to keep it simple,” he explained. “I’m really just doing the same things.
“I’d like to have had a win in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition and that hasn’t been the case, but there are still fixtures to come and maybe it is just around the corner.”
Saltires are, in fact, coming off a hammering from Essex Eagles.
However, Mommsen justifiably pointed to Surrey receiving similar treatment the following day, when they were dismissed for 134, with Graeme Napier taking seven wickets.
By contrast, the Scots made 243-8 in defeat.
“It does look as if it was a terrible day at the office, but at one stage we held the cards,” said Mommsen.
“Unfortunately for us, one of their batsmen, Ryan ten Doetsche, had a tremendous innings (180) but statistically, at least, we gave our best batting display of the season so there were lots of positives we could take.
Scotland team from: Preston Mommsen, captain, Richie Berrington, Calvin Burnett, Freddie Coleman, Ewan Chalmers, Josh Davey, Matthew Cross, Moneeb Iqbal, Calum MacLeod, Matt Machan, Gordon Goudie, Iain Wardlaw.
Australia A team from: Brad Haddin, captain, Steven Smith (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Ryan Harris, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, James Pattinson, Chadd Sayers, Peter Siddle, Jordan Silk.