Cricket: Dashing Fleming leaves best behind

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .361 and 78-3

New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .282-5 dec

NEW ZEALAND may not be winning matches, but Stephen Fleming, their 21-year-old left- hander, won the accolades here yesterday with a dashing 151 in which more than a hundred of his runs were gathered in boundaries. The bright prospect succeeded in lapping Mark Greatbatch, whose extended net against a docile Glamorgan was of the great- block variety.

While Fleming's flashing blade was cutting the bottom county to pieces, Greatbatch, another left-hander who has been known to murder attacks, kept his head down. The contrast in styles could not have been more stark and either way there was no way through for Glamorgan until the partnership had raised 181.

The figures are interesting. Greatbatch was on two when Fleming arrived. He was on 23 as the youngster reached his century and on 29 when Fleming put three figures between himself and his partner.

In the process, the flamboyant Fleming passed his previous first-class best of 118 not out, made in last month's match with Middlesex, and in 188 minutes he put away 21 fours and four sixes. Greatbatch, who scored 34, survived 185 minutes and managed only two boundaries.

New Zealand were away to a bad start, Bryan Young slashing Steve Watkin's first ball of the second over straight to David Hemp at cover point. Then 21 for 1 became 62 for 2 when Ken Rutherford, who had just driven Steve Bastien beautifully for four, edged one that seamed to slip. Bastien struck again, removing Blair Pocock with a one-handed return catch high to his left.

Fleming, though, was soon laying about him and put Bastien in his place with a six and a four and warmed up after lunch by taking three legside boundaries in an over from Ottis Gibson. None suffered more, however, than the spinner Robert Croft, 1 for 98, whose eight first-class wickets this season have come at a cost of 634 runs.

With Fleming and Greatbatch finally out of the way, the tourists soon declared with a deficit of 79. Nor was Fleming's enjoyable day at St Helen's quite over, Glamorgan slipping to 56 for 3 when, fielding at silly point, he took out Adrian Dale with a straightforward catch.

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