Kieswetter and Strauss hasten victory
England’s latest opening partnership proved it has the potential to be one of the best as Craig Kieswetter and Andrew Strauss teed up a handsome seven-wicket victory over Scotland at Edinburgh’s Citylets Grange.
The World Twenty20 hero and the returning captain blazed a total of 21 fours and two sixes in a dazzling first-wicket stand worth 121 after the hosts had made 211 all out in this one-off one-day international.
Durham’s Kyle Coetzer and captain Gavin Hamilton did well after the latter opted to bat first, but England spinners Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy took control in the middle stages, sharing five wickets.
Paul Collingwood closed with a neat 41 not out as the game ended with more than 16 overs remaining.
Strauss hit the first two balls of the reply to the boundary, one a push through midwicket, the other a drive down the ground.
Gordon Drummond and Matthew Parker continued to leak runs with the new ball, the latter hit for consecutive fours in his second over as Strauss punctured the infield.
More of the same followed as the score rattled along to 38 off four overs.
Kieswetter had less strike early on but used it to full effect with three brisk boundaries of his own.
A change of bowling after seven overs saw Coetzer enter the attack but Kieswetter duly took him for 12 as England romped past 50.
The Somerset wicketkeeper-batsman promptly overtook his skipper and celebrated by drilling Coetzer back over his head for six.
With 10 overs bowled, the openers had added 75 and quickly took the batting powerplay.
The fielding restrictions continued to suit England, with Kieswetter first to fifty off 38 balls. The 22-year-old brought up the landmark with a second towering six off Ross Lyons.
More applause followed for the England hundred and Strauss’ half-century.
Strauss, who collected 12 boundaries, fell to the final ball of the 15th over for 61 from 43 balls, lofting Majid Haq to Neil McCallum at deep midwicket.
Kieswetter survived a chance at long-on when he went for another big hit in the 17th over.
He did not last much longer, though, caught in the deep off Lyons having progressed to 69 in 65 deliveries.
Number three Kevin Pietersen survived a drop at midwicket before holing out to to Haq for 17, leaving Collingwood and Eoin Morgan to halt the rush of wickets.
The pair came together at 151 for three and quickly settled on working the singles, a policy that gave way only when Collingwood heaved Lyons over the boundary off the back foot.
The pair endured no further scares as they ended proceedings with 16.2 overs unused.
Earlier, James Anderson had started England’s day in a fine manner, locating opener Ryan Watson’s outside edge with the fourth ball of the morning.
His dismissal for nought brought Coetzer together with Hamilton, a third-wicket stand that was worth 86.
For a short period Coetzer’s nerveless counter-attacking had England worried, and he looked set for a big score until Yardy pouched a simple caught and bowled chance off the leading edge.
The Durham man hit eight boundaries, including a couple of confident pulls off Stuart Broad, in his 63-ball 51.
Hamilton, who picked up a solitary Test cap for England in 1999, made a watchful 48 before being stumped, while Douglas Lockhart struck a breezy 46 in the closing overs to see his side past 200.
That aside, Scotland’s batting was pedestrian and modestly executed, with Swann and the recalled Yardy largely responsible for the shift in momentum.
Ajmal Shahzad struck twice in the final over to wrap up the innings.