Ben Cooper and Pieter Seelaar put on 288 to rescue Netherlands in draw against Hong Kong
The pair grind out a gritty sixth-wicket partnership to force a draw on the fourth and final day of their ICC Intercontinental Cup clash
Ben Cooper and Pieter Seelaar on Monday put together one of the greatest partnerships seen in Hong Kong after they batted for 474 balls to deny the local side what appeared to be a routine victory in their ICC Intercontinental Cup clash.
Both batsmen scored centuries as they put on 288 for the sixth wicket and rescued the Netherlands from 105 for five with 80 overs remaining to leave the visitors on 393 for five at stumps on the fourth and final day at Tin Kwong Road to force a draw.
Neither batsman had previously scored a first-class century, but both well surpassed that milestone with Cooper scoring 173 from 317 balls, while Seelaar finished on 138 from 239 deliveries.
A sore and stiff-looking Cooper said he was proud of his achievements, which earned him man of the match honours.
“It wasn’t the best position to be in but we just backed ourselves and knuckled down,” Cooper said. “It’s the stuff you dream about to make such a good hundred as your first one and to be out there with Pieter was special.
“I was following and looking at the scoreboard but in the end I just had to knuckle down and bat it out.
“It will be a quick turnaround but to have a game like that and personally put some runs on the board it feels good going into those World Cricket League games.”
At lunch on the final day, Hong Kong required just four more wickets for victory because Netherlands’ Timm Van Der Gugten was unable to bat because of injury.
Hong Kong had dominated the match until then and the day started in promising fashion when Nadeem Ahmed dismissed Wesley Barresi for 28, which was followed by successive strikes from Ehsan Nawaz to reduce The Netherlands to 105 for five.
At that point, Hong Kong looked poised to set to complete their first-ever first-class victory at home.
But Cooper was joined by Seelar at the crease and the pair had other plans.
Their determined stand over two sessions frustrated the Hong Kong bowlers, though the local side were never in danger of losing with the Netherlands finishing 114 short of their 507-run target.
It was a bittersweet result for Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat, who scored an unbeaten 173 in the first innings.
“I’m a bit disappointed but at the same time I’m proud that we were on top for three and a bit days but today a bit disappointed we should have won it,” said Hayat.
“I think we dropped a couple of half chances in the field and if we took those it would have made the difference.
“The guys bowled really well for us and all contributed, it was just those half chances. They deserve credit for the way they played, they batted more than two sessions and we couldn’t get through them.”