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Auld Enemies up for Grange duel

ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL: Scotland v England, The Grange
Date: Monday, 18 August Start time: 1100 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Scotland MW/Digital, and online. Live scorecard on BBC Sport website and mobiles

By Mark Woods


Scotland captain Ryan Watson
Scotland captain Ryan Watson will hope for an upset over England
It's a fixture to stir the blood, particularly north of Hadrian's Wall - one which conjures up images of pilfered goalposts and bloody rucks, all in the cause of sporting honour.

Auld Enemy clashes have taken on a legendary status over the years in football and rugby, encounters where no quarter was asked nor given.

However, cricket - that most civilised of endeavours - has remained exempt from the fray, until now.

Monday will see Scotland face England at The Grange in Edinburgh. It comes in the middle of the city's Festival season and although you can barely walk down the street without bumping into a comic, neither side can afford to produce anything less than a serious performance.

With two or three guys holding their hands up, we can put ourselves in a position to get a big win

Gavin Hamilton
For the 'tourists', it is just the second match of Kevin Pietersen's reign as captain and with a cluster of peripheral figures handed an opportunity to impress ahead of the impending one-day series with South Africa, failure is simply not an option.

KP will hardly want an unexpected blemish on his pristine record so soon.

As for the hosts, this would be the mightiest scalp of all. The Saltires have yet to beat a Test nation in their history, last year's brush with the West Indies the closest they have come to a breakthrough.

With a capacity 6,000 crowd expected, Ryan Watson's side - weather permitting - would dearly love this to be the moment to break that duck.

MY SPORT: DEBATE
"We certainly feel it's overdue," admits Gavin Hamilton, who made his lone Test appearance for England in 1999 before later re-qualifying for Scotland.

"The bottom line is everyone looks at how Ireland did at the World Cup last year.

"We think we're certainly at that stage now where, if we get a big performance, with two or three guys holding their hands up, we can put ourselves in a position to get a big win.

"Among ourselves, we feel our time will come at some point. And Monday would be as good a time as any."

Since Scotland was granted a place in the old National League in 2003, Edinburgh has become a regular destination for England's counties.

James Anderson celebrates after England beat New Zealand in June
Anderson was part of the England side that beat New Zealand in June
While the Saltires, later to compete instead in the C&G Trophy (now the Friends Provident Trophy), have only once avoided the wooden spoon, there have been ample occasions in which the visitors - to quote the song - have been sent homeward 'tae think again.

And among England's squad, there is an appreciation that despite the disparity in the rankings, that this tie means more than just a pre-series work-out for Pietersen's men.

"It's a game I haven't played in before and I'm looking forward to it," concedes James Anderson, who felt the pain of a Scottish ambush when Lancashire were defeated at Old Trafford earlier this summer.

"It's a big game when the footballers play each other.

"I'm not sure it will be as fierce when the cricketers play each other but I'm sure there will be some sort of rivalry there."

Hamilton, uniquely placed after experiencing both sides, readily agrees.

"People who don't know anything about cricket understand about Scotland against England. I know, for myself, it's certainly the biggest game I've played in for Scotland.

"And generally, people will be really up for it. I've been asked a lot lately if we have a chance.

I'm not sure it will be as fierce when the cricketers play each other but I'm sure there will be some sort of rivalry therere

James Anderson
"The bottom line is you never say never."

The great irony is that, unlike in football, Scotland's cricket supporters have only been too pleased to support their neighbours over the years.

Plus in the likes of Hamilton, Dougie Brown and Mike Denness, there have been Caledonian natives who have realised their Test ambitions while sporting three lions.

On Monday though, a side must be chosen.

No quarter will be asked when the Auld Enemies unite once more.

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see also
Scots name squad to face England
14 Aug 08 |  Scotland
Bopara replaces Vaughan in squad
04 Aug 08 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
04 Aug 08 |  Cricket


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