Scotland would look to continue their inspired run © Getty
After beginning their season with an unsatisfactory drawn Test series against Pakistan, England begin the limited overs portion of their summer at The Grange, the picturesque Edinburgh ground, in an ODI against Scotland. For Eoin Morgan’s men, the next 12 months is vital preparation for next year’s World Cup where they will hope to win their first ever global 50-over title. If only the same were true for the hosts.
Scotland will not be at next year’s showpiece event after falling agonisingly short of beating Windies in the World Cup qualifying tournament in March. Defeat by 5 runs on DLS was made all the more galling because of a shoddy LBW decision just before the rain came. Had the ICC not decided on a boneheaded 10-team World Cup, there would be space for the likes of Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands, all of whom would be worthy of their place.
As it is, Scotland have to contend with picking up the odd match against full members where they can. The game in Edinburgh will be the first time England have visited since 2014 when they comfortably beat the hosts in Aberdeen. Scotland were also brushed aside during the 2015 World Cup but are a different proposition now. They have beaten three full member countries in the past 12 months – Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka – and came close against Windies and Ireland.
England, though, are an altogether different proposition. Ranked number one in the world in ODI cricket, they have won nine of their last 10 bilateral series and had an excellent winter, dominating aside Australia and defeating New Zealand in a topsy-turvy series. If they play well, it could be a tough day for the Scots but if they display any signs of early season rustiness, the home side will pounce.
Scotland’s chances of an upset have been increased by injuries to Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes which will necessitate a change in England’s balance. They have also rested Jos Buttler from the trip to Edinburgh which means they will not be at full strength. However, a key factor in England’s rise to the top of the world rankings has been their growing strength in depth and they have more than enough high-quality players to cope.
Scotland have never beaten England in four previous attempts and that is unlikely to change on Sunday. However, in front of an expected full house of around 4000, they have the opportunity to prove to themselves and the rest of the world that they are a growing force on the international stage. A strong performance would also be a timely reminder to the ICC of the folly of their decision to make next year’s world cup a 10-team affair.
When: Scotland vs England, Sunday, June 10, 2018
Where: The Grange, Edinburgh
What to expect: There could be the odd shower in Edinburgh tomorrow but there should be plenty of time to get a full game in. The pitch is expected to be good for batting although it has traditionally given some assistance to the spinners which, given the good weather in Scotland’s capital leading up to the game, could be a key factor in the match.
Scotland: Experienced batsman Preston Mommsen, who returned to action last year after announcing his retirement two years ago, is included in the squad and will add to Scotland’s strong batting line-up which contains captain Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington and Matt Cross. Safyaan Sharif, a star of the World Cup qualifiers, will lead the attack with Hampshire’s Brad Wheal.
England: Eoin Morgan will be without the injured Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes, two crucial components of England’s best eleven, while Jos Buttler has been rested for this match. The absence of three all-rounders will likely mean a change to England’s usual six-bowler method. Sam Billings will take the gloves and Mark Wood, David Willey and Liam Plunkett should form the seam bowling line-up with Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali providing the spin.
Scotland: Kyle Coetzer (C), Richie Berrington (vc), Dylan Budge, Matthew Cross, Alasdair Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Preston Mommsen, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal, Stuart Whittingham.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.